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Study shows many medical malpractice claims follow misdiagnosis

According to a recently published study online, patients in Wisconsin and other states could be at an increased risk of suffering severe cardiovascular incidents because general practitioners often miss the initial symptoms and signs of heart disease. The research was conducted by an analysis and research organization along with a medical malpractice insurance company in another state. The subject matter included over 250 cases that were based on the alleged failure of medical practitioners to diagnose cardiovascular disease in outpatient settings.

Researchers discovered that almost one in four of the diagnosed patients with coronary atherosclerosis or myocardial infarction had a previous record of heart disease. However, many of these patients were previously misdiagnosed. While general practitioners missed the coronary artery diseases, they diagnosed the patients with musculoskeletal pain, esophageal reflux and other similar but less dangerous conditions.

According to one of the study's co-authors, the concerning factor is that doctors are not only missing the signs in low-risk patients, but the cardiovascular malpractice claims show that it occurs primarily when typical risk factors are present. He recommends more care to be taken by physicians when diagnosing patients with symptoms that could indicate cardiovascular problems. He also says this study underscores risks that were previously not recognized.

While the study might bring about improvement in patient safety and lower the frequency of diagnostic errors, some patients will likely continue to suffer the consequences of misdiagnosis. If that is the fate of a person in Wisconsin, he or she will be entitled to pursue recovery of financial and other damages. Medical malpractice is a complicated field of the law, and securing the services of an experienced attorney is often an integral factor in achieving a successful result.

Source: cardiovascularbusiness.com, "Study: Physicians miss early signs of heart disease more often than they should", Katherine Davis, July 5, 2017

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