Cancer Misdiagnosis Common Base Of New Jersey Malpractice Suits

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Radiologists are frequently faced with lawsuits concerning diagnostic errors, according to a new study released by the New Jersey Medical School. The study concluded that breast cancer misdiagnosis is the most common base of malpractice lawsuits against radiologists across the nation, followed by various types of fractures and lung cancer. The collected information spanned 55 years of records of medical malpractice data.

Records were evaluated for 8,265 radiologists that had claims brought against them at some point during their career. A significant portion of those doctors were sued for malpractice more than once. Upon compilation of the data, there were 1,515 radiologists who were sued once, 599 were sued twice and 486 were sued three times or more. While not every malpractice lawsuit results in a finding of misdiagnosis, the sheer number of claims revealed in this study is troubling, considering the harm that can come from misdiagnosis.

For example, a misdiagnosis showing negative results when an individual in fact has cancerous cells present could delay treatment, which can leave the patient vulnerable to further illness. While cancer treatment has come a long way in recent years, catching the disease early still provides the best chances for a positive outcome. Doctors in general are held to the highest standard when determining the care and condition of their patients, and radiology is a practice area in which mistakes can have consequences of the utmost severity.

Unfortunately, New Jersey was named within the top five states for malpractice lawsuits, which may lead residents to worry that they may experience a higher risk of a cancer misdiagnosis or other type of diagnostic error than residents of other areas. It is important to remember that one’s health is of paramount concern. Therefore, when a patient feels that a medical diagnosis is not correct or that their concerns are not being appropriately addressed, the best approach is to seek another opinion. If a misdiagnosis was made that has led to harm, proper legal representation can help to rectify the situation. Medical malpractice suits can help relieve the financial strain caused by the negligent actions of medical providers, and can help patients afford the proper treatment to address their medical needs.

Source: diagnosticimaging.com, “Diagnosis Error Most Common Radiology Malpractice Claim,” Marijke Vroomen Durning, Dec. 11, 2012

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