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What's the top reason doctors are sued?

Doctors are sued fairly often, not always resulting in a malpractice payout, but pointing out the risks of being treated by a medical team. With information being collected on these court events, it's been able to be determined that the most common reason for suing doctors is a failure to diagnose or a delay in diagnosing a patient's condition.

In a study looking at medical malpractice claims against doctors in Australia, Canada, France, and the United States, it was found that somewhere between 26 and 63 percent of the medical malpractice claims were related to doctors missing a diagnosis.

The most commonly missed diagnoses were cancer-related, particularly when it came to lung cancer, melanomas, colon cancer, and breast cancer. On top of that, meningitis, which can affect children, was also misdiagnosed. Heart attacks were also listed as being commonly misdiagnosed.

What happened most often when these diagnoses were missed? Death, unfortunately, which is why so many of these patients' families then went to court. The number of people who file lawsuits isn't representative of all the people who suffer misdiagnoses or other medical issues related to their care; a researcher from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland reported that many patients don't discuss adverse events after receiving care.

Analyzing claims can be a good way for medical teams to learn more about conditions that were missed and why they were missed, but that won't help the patient who has passed away or been left in pain. That's why many of these people seek out compensation following a misdiagnoses, much like you may if you suffer one, too.

Source: Live Science, "Failure to Diagnose Is No. 1 Reason for Suing Doctors," Rachael Rettner, accessed May. 26, 2015

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