What is at the heart of an alarming increase in medical malpractice lawsuits against cardiologists?
Per a study published this month in the American Journal of Cardiology (“Medical Malpractice Claims Within Cardiology from 2006 to 2015″) the number of medical malpractice claims filed against cardiologists rose 91 percent from 2006 to 2015. Researchers reviewed medical malpractice claims during this period, including 1,538 lawsuits against cardiologists.
Not only did the number of cardiologist medical malpractice lawsuits jump during this period, so did the lawsuit payments, increasing 142 percent over the 10-year period.
Errors with a Medical Diagnosis
Among the most prevalent and dangerous of all medical mistakes are errors in diagnosis. This study found that diagnostic mistakes were the leading cause for medical malpractice lawsuits involving cardiologists. Diagnostic errors – a missed, wrong or delayed diagnosis – was central to one-fifth of all the medical malpractice claims and accounted for $110 million in compensation paid to patients and their families in this study.
Other leading causes for the study’s medical malpractice lawsuits were miscommunication, safety and monitoring problems, and issues with malfunctioning medical equipment.
But this new study is simply the latest in several research efforts on the seriousness of mistakes made by cardiologists.
In 2017, Medscape, an online medical practice website, published its “Cardiology Medical Malpractice Report 2017,” which dealt with several aspects involving cardiologist errors. Sixty percent of cardiologists surveyed said they had been sued for medical malpractice. Over half of those reported being sued two to five times.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Complications from surgery or treatment was the leading cause (36 percent) for cardiologist medical malpractice lawsuits in this study. The wrongful death of the patient was the cause for a quarter of all lawsuits. A failure or delay in medical treatment or providing an incorrect diagnosis were other leading reasons for suing cardiologists for medical malpractice.
In 2014, The Doctors Company, a company providing medical malpractice insurance to physicians, reported the findings of its review of cardiologist medical malpractice lawsuits. It outlined the top five reasons it identified for the litigation.
The number one cause was a failure to diagnosis myocardial infarction – commonly known as a heart attack. This was found in one out of every four cardiologist medical malpractice lawsuits. (The same company also later reported that between 2011 and 2015, the patient died in 70 percent of medical malpractice claims undiagnosed heart conditions in women.)
The second leading reason was for the improper management of treatment, which includes errors made during patient handoffs between doctors and mix-ups involving electronic health records.
Next came mistakes made during a treatment or procedure, as well as surgical errors.
And the final leading cause for suing cardiologists for medical malpractice was medication errors.
All of these errors aren’t restricted to cardiology care. They are across the board the top reasons for preventable medical mistakes regardless of specialty.
If had a family member die or seriously harmed while receiving medical treatment of any kind, a medical malpractice lawyer can conduct an investigation to determine what went wrong and pursue your legal rights to just compensation.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles October 29, 2018