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Misdiagnosis Top Problem for Patients

/ Medical Malpractice /

Misdiagnosis Top ProblemROCHESTER, N.Y. – Researchers poured over hundreds of closed medical claims over the span of six years and found the majority of lawsuits stem from diagnostic-related issues. According to the study, 57 percent of claims accused doctors of delivering a delayed diagnosis, a wrong diagnosis, or failing to diagnose a patient with a health issue.

“There’s an increasing strain on emergency rooms nationwide,” said Brian Goldstein, a Rochester medical malpractice attorney at Cellino & Barnes. “It’s not rare for emergency departments to be staffed with non-emergency medicine physicians and that can often lead to more mistakes.”

The study, conducted by The Doctors Company, analyzed 332 legal claims and found “underlying vulnerabilities” that contributed to patient injuries.

At the top of the list, 52 percent of the cases analyzed had patient assessment issues. These problems included a failure to address abnormalities and in many cases, a patient was discharged too quickly.

Other studies, like the one mentioned here, found similar assessment issues were often linked to a lack of safe practice standards and protocols at some hospitals. However, emergency rooms with quality initiatives geared toward patient safety were much less likely to be accused of medical malpractice.

“Unfortunately, we routinely see malpractice cases stemming from poor emergency room management,” Goldstein said. “Hospitals with low scores tend to have more problems while hospitals with high scores have set guidelines that focus, to a greater extent, on patient safety rather than the hospital’s financial bottom line.”

The 2015 research conducted by The Doctors Company also indicated that in at least 21 percent of patient injuries, it was not necessarily the doctor’s fault. The study found patients would sometimes skip follow-up appointments and use medication in ways it wasn’t prescribed.

“Today’s health system can be tricky,” Goldstein said. “Often, patients in an emergency situation have no choice but to trust the emergency room physician but the reality is that mistakes are happening every day.”

In 2012, researchers found that missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses affected 10 to 20 percent of all cases. The 2015 closed claims study may suggest the numbers could be higher.

The Doctors Company research aims to reduce the number of diagnostic errors in emergency rooms.

Stop Making Medical Mistakes

/ Medical Malpractice /

Stop Making Medical MistakesROCHESTER, N.Y. – The most recent studies have found more than 400,000 lives and many more injuries may be caused by medical mistakes each year. It’s an astounding number and nearly all of the complications doctors ran into are considered preventable.

Unfortunately, healthcare providers and many doctors focus their attention on medical liability reform instead of patient safety. Hospitals, doctors and insurers have been lobbying state and federal lawmakers for years and in many states, they’ve successfully stripped away the legal rights of a person injured by medical malpractice.

“It’s more important than ever to have strong, knowledgeable lawyers on your side fighting for what’s right in cities like New York, Buffalo and Rochester,” medical malpractice attorney Ross Cellino said. “Instead of creating protocols to prevent these injuries in the first place, hospitals and insurance companies have consistently shown they’d rather prevent a victim from getting the compensation they deserve after a doctor’s mistake.”

Particularly in cases of childbirth, safety initiatives have shown to be an effective way of preventing serious harm to both a mother and a newborn. However, research has found best practices and standardized protocols are unevenly implemented.

“Some hospitals have successfully shown that their procedures can prevent medical mistakes and some complications,” Cellino said. “Unfortunately, many hospitals fail to implement these safety protocols and as a result, people get seriously hurt or worse.”

A report filed in 2009 estimated more than 150,000 injuries to newborns and mothers during childbirth could have been avoided every year. Other studies point out delivery complications were up to five times more likely in low-performing hospitals when compared to hospitals with high-performance scores.

“The evidence is there and it’s clear that thousands of medical injuries can be avoided,” Cellino said. “It’s time for the healthcare industry to open its eyes to this data and improve patient care instead of fighting it with lobbyists, effectively eliminating a patient’s rights to compensation.”

Medical malpractice attorneys say every case is unique and they suggest reviewing your options with a legal professional before deciding whether or not to take legal actions following a malpractice injury.

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