A new study conducted by the Ireland Medical School in Dublin examined sources of medical malpractice claims against family physicians based in Canada, the USA, UK, Australia, and France. The study reports that the primary source of medical malpractice claims is missed or delayed diagnosis of serious conditions. This new research says the most common consequence of malpractice is death, from 15 per cent to 48 per cent of claims.
One of my previous cases illustrates that a tendency to misdiagnoses can cause wide-spread damage. A significant number of people were misdiagnosed by Dr. Rajopal Menon at Miramichi Regional Health Authority due to repeated failure to follow standards. A review of 23,000 slides from 15,000 patients found a 22.8% error rate over a 7 year period. That’s a significant amount of error. Mental and physical pain and suffering and death resulted.
This new study tells us there’s a serious problem regarding medical malpractice not just in Canada, but in the USA, UK, Australia, and France. How can the likelihood of appropriate medical treatment be increased and the chances of misdiagnosis be decreased?
For family doctors and other medical personnel in primary contact with an ailing patient there is a fool-proof method for getting the diagnosis right. This is called differential diagnosis. It is the method whereby the doctor makes a list of all the disease entities that may be causing disease presentation and orders them by seriousness.
A patient with abdominal pain probably has an abdominal disorder ranging from acid reflux to peptic ulcer, but abdominal pain can also be a symptom of heart attack. Heart attack is less likely but potentially lethal, therefore it must always be ruled out.
For medical malpractice errors to be reduced, the first step is for physicians to rigorously apply the method of differential diagnosis taught in medical school for decades.
If you think you experienced malpractice, order my book Why Most Medical Malpractice Victims Never Recover a Dime free to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. It gives insight into the legal process of pursuing a medical malpractice claim.