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Are surgical errors the most common in medical malpractice cases?

When you think of medical malpractice cases in Illinois, what do you think of first? Do you recall the stories that people sometimes tell of surgical errors, such as a doctor leaving an instrument inside a person after surgery or removing the wrong limb? These things carry a certain dramatic weight, so they are discussed frequently, but the fact of the matter is that surgical errors are not the most common.

Instead, according to a recent study, diagnostic errors are the ones that show up the most. Researchers carried out this study at Johns Hopkins University, and they looked at data from the last 25 years. They believe that a huge number of people could have been subjected to these mistakes in the United States along, though they did put the range at anywhere from 80,000 people to 160,000 people.

To find the percentages, the study looked at the cases that had paid out: a total of 350,706 cases. What they found was that a full 28.6 percent related to errors in making a diagnosis.

Of course, each case is different, but common examples include doctors who do not spot things like cancer, believing them to be less dangerous ailments. When medical conditions are given the wrong diagnosis and then given improper treatment as a result, the impact on the patient can be huge. The study found that patients were even more likely to die because of these mistakes.

Many people trust doctors and put their lives in those doctors' hands; these people also need to know what options they have when the doctors make mistakes.

Source: Huffington Post, "Diagnostic Errors More Common In Medical Malpractice Claims Than Surgical, Medication Errors: Study" accessed Jan. 22, 2015

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