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Misdiagnosis stats show gains, but malpractice still an issue

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Misdiagnosis of serious medical conditions is a problem that continues to rise to the top of the list of concerns for both patients and physicians themselves. Trends in New York City medical malpractice claims indicate that specific conditions are more likely to be misdiagnosed when compared to others. In general, experts say that malpractice cases tend to involve strokes, heart attacks, infections, meningitis and sepsis, among others.

So, how do the experts determine whether a physician should face consequences for medical malpractice? Often, misdiagnosis — a diagnosis that is incorrect or delayed — is identified only after an autopsy is conducted. In many cases, diagnostic errors do not involve the exotic new diseases such as opportunistic infections. Instead, physicians in New York City and other regions typically misdiagnose common conditions such as heart and lung ailments and bowel perforation.

The good news: Many ailments that had been subject to misdiagnosis in the past are becoming easier to identify and treat. These include ectopic pregnancies, which occur when an egg implants in a part of the reproductive tract other than the uterus. Pregnancy tests are more reliable than they have been in the past, improving the likelihood of identifying such conditions.

Still, other problems such as necrotizing fasciitis and sepsis are far more common than they had been in previous eras. Those infections are often the root of medical malpractice cases because it is more difficult to treat the issues with common medication due to antibiotic resistance. Physicians may misdiagnose an infection by either failing to identify the symptoms or dismissing the symptoms as insignificant.

No matter what the cause of your misdiagnosis claim, you deserve to receive compensation for your maltreatment at the hands of a trusted physician. Doctors are specially trained to diagnose common ailments, and there is no excuse for failing to identify an everyday illness or injury. Victims should not have to suffer because of doctors’ inability to correctly diagnose and treat their patients.

Source: MedPage Today, “Misdiagnosis: Can It Be Remedied?,” Joyce Frieden, accessed Sep. 29, 2015

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