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Misdiagnosis identified as common in malpractice claims

Many of the medical malpractice claims filed by people in Illinois may deal with cases of misdiagnosis. Two different studies by malpractice insurers released in the same week in March found that misdiagnoses dominated their claims. For one company, Coverys, nearly half of the closed claims against doctors between 2013 and 2017 were diagnosis related. The other company, The Doctors Company, found that more than a third of the closed malpractice claims involving children between 2008 and 2017 were linked to misdiagnoses.

The issue of misdiagnosis has been a growing concern in the medical field for several years. A 2015 study by the National Academy of Medicine estimated that misdiagnosis was one of the main causes of death of hospitalized people. A 2017 University of Michigan study found that more than 20 percent of nearly 63,000 malpractice claims were related to diagnosis, and patients were more likely to die than in other cases of malpractice.

Coverys identified inadequate patient assessment as one of the main causes of misdiagnosis. Issues of diagnostic testing, follow-ups and referrals were also involved. According to The Doctors Company, failing to correctly notice and analyze symptoms and test results accounted for many misdiagnoses. The Doctors Company also found that just over a third of the pediatric malpractice claims reviewed resulted in monetary compensation.

Compensation for a misdiagnosis or another form of medical malpractice may cover both medical expenses and other costs, such as lost income. People who believe they have suffered from medical malpractice or whose loved ones have may want to consult an attorney about how to document the situation and what steps to take. The legal system recognizes the complexity of diagnosing some conditions, so one criterion it uses in assessing whether there has been medical negligence is whether the patient's standard of care was reasonable. The degree of harm caused to a patient is also relevant.

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