Key Causes for Serious Medical Errors

hospital patient.jpgBy including the viewpoints of both injured patients and physicians, a new study of injured cardiac patients goes right to the heart of the matter of why serious medical mistakes happen.

An insurance company called the Doctors Company recently released its review of 429 claims of medical malpractice against cardiologists. All of the claims were finalized in some fashion between 2007 and 2013.

The report identified the patients' main allegations for medical mistakes. The company also had outside physicians review the claims for their assessments as to the key contributing factors for what went wrong when the patients suffered harm.

Most Common Patient Claims of Doctor Mistakes

The most common medical malpractice claims patients made against cardiologists were:

· Doctor misdiagnosis

· Improper management of treatment - patients suffering harm due to wrong cardiac tests

· Improper performance of treatment or procedure

· Surgical errors

· Medication mistakes

Factors Identified by Physicians that Lead to Patient Harm

The conclusions from the physicians who reviewed these medical mistakes were fairly similar. The top factors leading to the cardiac patient injuries they found included:

· Patient assessment problems - instances when doctors' failure to order diagnostic tests, failure to account for abnormal results, and failure to use available clinical information

· Technical performance - includes injuries following a procedure that were known and communicated to patients as possible complications, but also poor techniques by the physicians

· Incorrect selection and management of therapy

· Poor communication between healthcare providers - including instances when bad relationships between providers hurt patient care, providers not properly reviewing patients' medical records, and providers not properly sharing patient information

· Poor communication between patient and physician - when patients received incomplete information regarding follow-up and medications, the less they were able to properly follow post-procedure protocols and treatments

Although patients and physicians in this research somewhat agreed on the top reason for medical mistakes, the study illustrates there can be many causes. If you believe you were seriously hurt or had a family member die due to a medical error, an attorney who handles medical malpractice lawsuits can identify all the reasons and who is responsible for the terrible losses you suffered.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.


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