Most studies on medical malpractice have been conducted on the treatment received at hospitals, but Americans are most often treated by their primary care doctors. How does the care that they receive here measure up? According to one study, not so great. In fact, as many as 16 percent of all malpractice claims in 2013 were made against general practitioners. The following information highlights what every American should know about their risk of a medical error with their PCP.
Missed Diagnoses and Your PCP
In an analysis of 34 different studies on medical malpractice claims, researchers at Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Medical School and Trinity College Dublin found that missed diagnoses of a serious (and often fatal) condition accounted for 26 to 63 percent of all malpractice claims against primary care providers. Heart attack, meningitis, and cancer were the most commonly missed conditions, but researchers also found cases in which primary care providers has missed fractures, ectopic pregnancies, and appendicitis in their patients. The most common consequence of diagnostic error was patient death (between 15 percent and 48 percent of all claims).
PCPs and Medication Errors
While missed diagnoses made up the bulk share of PCP errors, researchers also uncovered several malpractice claims related to drug errors. In fact, these cases made up between 5.6 and 20 percent of all malpractice claims. A previous study from the University of Illinois found that approximately 7 percent of all medication errors in the United States involve blood thinners (anticoagulants). However, medication errors can include nearly any manner of drug and they can pertain to issues like prescribing the wrong medication, prescribing the wrong dosage of the right medication, or prescribing a medication to which the patient is allergic.
Concerning Statistics on the Payout of Malpractice Claims
In addition to analyzing the types of claims most often brought against primary care doctors, the researchers also examined the rate at which malpractice claims were paid out. According to their analysis, only about a third of all cases in the U.S. received any form of compensation. This suggests that victims not only need to ensure they secure legal counsel for their claim– they need an attorney who is skilled and experienced in medical malpractice claims.
With more than 75 years of experience and a track record of success, Hurley McKenna & Mertz, P.C. has the skills, knowledge, and resources you need. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers know how to overcome the challenges of medical malpractice cases, and we will aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for you and your loved ones. Schedule your free initial consultation by calling [[phone]] today.