Medical malpractice most often caused by a wrong diagnosis

Posted on Friday, May 3, 2013

  • 03
  • May

Few Texas residents enjoy making the trip to the doctor's office, but medical facilities and medical professionals are there to try and cure what ails us. While most doctors do the right thing and remedy most ailments, doctor error remains a prevalent problem in the medical community.

Malpractice payouts over the past couple decades have been surprisingly large. In a new study by BMJ Quality & Safety, the total amount for malpractice payouts dispensed in the past 25 years came to nearly $40 billion.

While the sheer dollar amount is staggering, the study's most surprising fact was that many of these payouts were the result of a missed or wrong diagnosis. After analyzing more than 350,000 incidents, the study claimed that most of the mistakes were preventable. Most of the cases involved outpatients who came into the clinic or hospital and were discharged the same day.

Fortunately for the victims of such tragic misdiagnoses, the legal system provides an avenue for compensation. If someone is given a defective drug, they may be able to bring a lawsuit to recover damages for the ensuing injuries. To show that a medical professional was negligent, a victim would needs to show that the health care professional had a duty to the patient, the medical provider's deviation from professional standards (a breach of that duty), injury to the patient, and that the medical provider's deviation from professional standards was the cause of that injury.

While sad, the news that these cases are caused by preventable mistakes should give everyone hope that the problems can be fixed and the number of incorrect diagnoses can be decreased in the future. In the meantime, those Texans who have been injured by a missed or wrong diagnosis should investigate their legal options.

Source:, "'Misdiagnosis' leading cause of U.S. malpractice payouts," Denise Mann, April 23, 2013

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