Missed diagnosis most common medical negligence claim, study reveals

Date: Jul 22, 2013

A new study of medical negligence claims worldwide has found that patients most commonly seek injury compensation due to a missed diagnosis or incorrectly prescribed medicine.

Researchers at the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research based at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) published the results of their study on July 18.

They reviewed international malpractice claims in primary care in order to discover what needs to be prioritised in the education of healthcare professionals and in risk management systems for primary care medical practitioners.

At the top of the list were cases of missed or delayed diagnosis. These made up between 26 per cent and 63 per cent of all claims investigated by researchers.

The most common missed diagnoses among adults were for cancer and heart attack patients. For children, it was meningitis and cancer.

The second most common cause of negligence claims was medication error.

Researchers also found that claims against GPs in Australia and the UK were on the rise.

Lead author of the review Dr Emma Wallace said the study’s focus on primary care claims was timely, as improving this aspect of patient care is increasingly seen as a way to ensure their safety and quality of care.

“The review looked at different aspects such as the prevalence of malpractice claims in primary care; malpractice claims for primary care compared with other specialities; the medical

misadventures cited in malpractice claims; and malpractice claims outcomes and compensation awarded,” said Dr Wallace in a statement.

She said the study sent a clear message to healthcare professionals.

“It identifies missed diagnosis and medication error as areas to be prioritised in the development of clinical risk management systems and educational strategies for both undergraduate and postgraduate GP training.”

In Australia, a patient may be able to make a claim for compensation based on medical negligence when they have been injured as a result of the negligent actions of a medical practitioner.

The level and nature of the compensation that may be awarded will depend on the particular factors of each case.

Nonetheless, it may be possible to be compensated for the costs of past and future care for injuries, economic loss such as loss of salary or wages, and non-economic loss.

To learn more about this kind of claim and for advice about seeking compensation, get in touch with expert Medical Negligence lawyers.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.