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Most Medical Malpractice Claims Attributed to 3 Common Errors

By: Anapol Weiss

Three common errors could make up more than two-thirds of all medical malpractice claims against in-patient physicians who work exclusively in hospitals (called “hospitalists”), according to new research.

A study conducted by The Doctors Company reported that 78 percent of all claims against hospitalists include medical misdiagnosis, improper management of treatment, and medication mistakes. The study, titled “Hospitalist Closed Claims Study: An Expert Analysis of Medical Malpractice Allegations,” found that 36 percent of the errors involved a failure, delay or incorrect diagnosis. Conditions commonly misdiagnosed included intestinal disorders, cerebral artery occlusion, heart attack and cardiac arrest, sepsis, and more.

Further, researchers found that injuries involving improper management of patients’ treatment accounted for 31 percent of the allegations. Medication errors – which include overdoses, failure to prescribe antibiotics, failure to monitor medications and other dangerous issues – made up 11 percent of the claims. The rest of the allegations included mistakes such as:

  • Improper performance or delay in treatment or procedure

  • Failure to treat

  • Failure to monitor physiologic status

These findings are based on claims reported by more than 2,100 hospitalists insured by The Doctors Company and include all claims and lawsuits in which a hospitalist was named a defendant. Researchers analyzed 464 claims against hospitalists that closed between 2007 and 2014.

These common claims point to a dangerous epidemic in the United States involving errors in medical care. When preventable errors result in patient deaths or catastrophic injuries, those responsible must be held accountable.

For decades, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers have been successfully advocating for patients who were unnecessarily harmed by medical care providers. Contact Anapol Weiss for assistance if you or a family member was hurt and you believe medical negligence was to blame. We can help.