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Diagnostic Errors Blamed For Thousands Of Deaths Each Year

Posted on May 8, 2013

A new study released by Johns Hopkins University and published in the journal BML Quality and Safety says that up to 160,000 Americans are permanently injured or die each year due to medical diagnostic errors.

The study defined diagnostic errors as those that were missed, delayed or just plain wrong. Researchers pored over more than 350,000 malpractice claims over 25 years and found that diagnostic errors accounted for nearly 29 percent of all claims — which outpaced all other categories such as medication, treatment or surgery errors.

According to the study, diagnostic mistakes also accounted for the lion’s share of medical malpractice payouts at 35.2 percent. When adjusted for inflation, those payments were a remarkable $38.8 billion from 1986 to 2010.

While the authors of the study say that the claims data can be imperfect, they point to past studies that indicated most paid malpractice claims are not considered frivolous in nature and can be an indicator of the seriousness of adverse events.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the study estimated that as many as 80,000 patients die each year due to diagnostic mistakes and that at least that many are injured each year as a result of errors.

What the medical malpractice attorneys at Farah & Farah in Jacksonville found particularly frightening is that the lead author of the study thinks that those numbers may be inaccurate.

“It is probably a lot higher than that,” he stated.

If you believe that you or a loved one has been injured or has died due to a medical diagnostic error, you should know your legal rights. The experienced lawyers at the law firm of Farah & Farah are ready to answer your questions and to outline your legal options. Your consultation is free and you don’t pay unless we win the case. Call us at (800) 533-3555 or click on our help line to speak with a representative today.