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Illinois medical malpractice attorneysMost 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).

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medical malpractice, Chicago personal injury lawyersSince the mid-seventies, tort reformers have put a lot of effort into getting the public to believe that the justice system is broken and that physicians and hospitals are innocent victims who must settle with patients to resolve unfounded claims to avoid ruin. But when you look at the facts, including those recently presented by the Center for Justice & Democracy, it is clear they are anything but. If anything, the evidence indicates that it is patients who are being treated unfairly by the courts.

The Human Impact of Medical Mistakes

Preventable medical errors are now considered to be the third leading cause of death in America, just after heart disease and cancer. Even more patients are seriously injured to the point that their lives are substantially and often irrevocably altered. The problem is so pervasive, in fact, that most Americans will experience a diagnostic error at least once in their life (which is twice as likely to result in death than other medical mistakes), and around half of all surgeries involve an adverse drug event or other medication error.

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bad drug interactions, Chicago negligence lawyerA bad drug interaction or an adverse reaction caused when one drug interacts or interferes with another drug, is an extremely common issue, particularly among those with multiple health issues. As such, the elderly population is often at the highest level of risk. However, anyone taking more than one medication – even over-the-counter drugs – can be at risk for a bad drug interaction.

So who is responsible if one happens? Is it the doctor that prescribed the medication? Is it the pharmacist that filled it? Or both? The answer is a little obscure, particularly when examining former cases involving physician liability in bad drug interaction. However, as a general rule, they may be implicated for a variety of reasons that may or may not be directly related to whether or not they have a duty to warn.

Courts Divided on Pharmacist’s Duty to Warn

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medication errors, Chicago personal injury attorneysSurgical 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 Real Risk of Perioperative Care

Because medication mistakes during perioperative care (immediately before, during, and immediately after a procedure) are mostly self-reported, experts have long suspected that the numbers are much higher than those on record. A research group from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) has now proven it with an analysis of 277 randomly selected operative procedures.

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