Skip To Content
Free consultation Text or call 312.553.4900

Medical Malpractice Harms up to Four Million Americans per Year

September 20, 2019  ·  By HM&M

TAGS: , , , , ,

A recent report regarding medical malpractice in the U.S. estimated that diagnostic errors by physicians and hospitals resulted in “serious permanent damage” or “immediate or inevitable death” in up to 4 million Americans annually. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 227). These errors include:

  • Failure of physicians to properly diagnose medical conditions
  • Miscommunication between medical personnel and between physicians and patients; and
  • Failure of physicians, nurses and hospital technicians to accurately communicate test results.

The three most common conditions that physicians and hospitals misdiagnose are:

  • Vascular events [i.e., strokes, brain bleeding, internal bleeding and hemorrhage];
  • Infections; and
  • Cancers

These conditions are known as the “Big Three” and are responsible for nearly 75% of serious misdiagnosis-related harms in the United States. (Newman-Toker, 2019, p. 238).

Knowing the severity of the problem of misdiagnosis and medical malpractice in the United States, here are some tips that can help you protect yourself when seeking medical care:

Ask your doctor to explain in detail the treatment plan you will follow at home.

  • If you are having surgery, make sure that you, your primary care doctor, and your surgeon all agree on exactly what will be done.
  • Speak up if you have questions or concerns – you have a right to question anyone who is involved with your care.
  • If you have a medical test, do not assume that no news is good news – ask how and when you will get the results, and demand to see the final results when they are available.

If you or a family member have been a victim of misdiagnosis or medical malpractice and need help or have questions, call us at 312.553.4900.


Newman-Toker, David E., et al. “Serious Misdiagnosis-Related Harms in Malpractice Claims:The ‘Big Three' – Vascular Events, Infections, and Cancers.” Diagnosis, vol. 6, no. 3, 2019, pp. 227 – 240., doi:10.1515/dx-2019-0019.

September 20, 2019

Medical Misdiagnosis: Are you at risk?

Surgical intervention—be it lifesaving or elective—is a dangerous business. Unexpected emergencies, postoperative infection, and delayed healing are just a few of the possibilities that are commonly discussed with patients. However, there is one risk that is not largely discussed, despite the fact that it may be one of the most commonly experienced: medication errors. The... Read More

September 20, 2019

Do you have Ossification of the Posterior Longitudinal Ligament?

Ossification of the Posterior Longitudinal Ligament (OPLL) is a relatively common but often overlooked and misdiagnosed condition that can occurs when a ligament that runs along the spinal column, in from of the spinal cord, becomes thicker and bony [“ossifies”]. This usually occurs as we age. If you have these symptoms, you may have OPLL:... Read More

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.