Study Reveals Most Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Suits: Failure to Diagnose and Medication Errors

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo & Plotkin LLP

Our firm’s medical malpractice litigation team is not surprised to learn that a new study involving the analysis of more than 34 studies (15 of which are US based) has revealed that the most common basis of medical malpractice claims is missed diagnosis, also known as failure to diagnose. Missed diagnosis accounts for 15-48% of all claims, with primary care doctor facing 7.6 – 16% of all medical malpractice claims.

The study found that the most common missed diagnosis amongst adults was: cancer, heart attack, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy and broken bones. Amongst children the most common diagnosis were found to be meningitis and cancers. This may involve misinterpreted test results or failure to do further testing. Tragically, a surprising number of these involve test results clearly being positive but the patient never being notified! This is sad fact we have litigated many times throughout New York. The second most common basis of medical malpractice claims was drug errors, which made up 5.6-20% of all claims.

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