Doctors have a big job when it comes to taking care of your health. Most physicians do a good job diagnosing and treating their patients, but mistakes do happen.
New Jersey patients might be interested to hear that a 33-year-old man who visited a clinic because of a toe infection ended up dead because of the incompetence of the medical facility's personnel, according to a lawsuit that led to an award of $2.5 million. The family and fiancee of the man, who worked as a forklift driver, claimed medical malpractice in the 2011 death, which occurred after the man had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic prescribed for the infection.
New Jersey readers may be surprised to learn that physicians misdiagnose conditions in 10 to 15 percent of new problems. There is a common perception that most misdiagnoses happen with rare conditions; however, the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are cancer, acute renal failure, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and urinary-tract infections.
Many New Jersey residents are apprehensive when it comes to having surgery; however, research indicates that there may be better times than others when it comes to getting procedures done. Some studies indicate a spike in medical malpractice during certain times of the year.
New Jersey medical patients might be interested to hear that misdiagnoses are more common than other types of medical errors, including drug errors or surgery on the wrong person or body part. A pediatric infectious disease specialist for the Georgetown University School of Medicine discovered this after he was told over and over again that the pain he was experiencing in his throat was merely due to acid reflux. It was, in fact, due to cancer.
New Jersey residents who have a primary care physician may be surprised by the findings of a new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association's Internal Medicine, which show that most misdiagnoses occur in a primary care doctor's office and are related to basic factors in the consultation. When doctors misdiagnose diseases, they may face medical malpractice lawsuits from the victims based on the damages they suffer. While the study found no single cause for missed diagnoses, several contributing factors were determined to play a role in this problem. At least 80 percent of misdiagnoses were due to problems during the initial patient consultation. These errors could occur during the physical exam or during the taking of a medical history from the patient. 20 percent of all misdiagnoses were determined to be due to failure to make or take advantage of referrals to specialists.
A 12-year-old boy in New York was taken to a pediatrician by his parents, and later saw a doctor at a hospital emergency room. Both diagnosed him as merely suffering from a stomachache, and medicine was prescribed to handle this minor problem. About 72 hours later, his parents were faced with making funeral arrangements for him. The boy died because of an untreated infection that led to sepsis. The indications are that the death was the result of medical malpractice.
Researchers from one Nationwide Children's Hospital wanted to know what percentage of medical errors happened among children with chronic illnesses versus children with non-chronic illnesses. Using a government database they got their answer, but it was an answer with which they were not surprised.