Posted by Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner
A recent article published by BMJ Quality and Safety studied the diagnosis-related claims from the National Practitioner Data Bank maintained by the federal government for a 25 year period from 1986-2010. This study reviewed and cataloged the error type, outcome severity and payments of malpractice claims, comparing diagnostic error to other malpractice claims. Of the 350,706 paid claims studied during this 25 year period, diagnostic errors accounted for 28.6% of the errors as well as the highest proportion of total payments (35.2%). “Diagnostic errors more often resulted in death than other allegation groups (40.9%) and were the leading cause of of claims-associated death and disability.”
Researchers contributing to this study concluded, “Among malpractice claims, diagnostic errors appear to be the most common, most costly and most dangerous of medical mistakes. We found roughly equal numbers of lethal and non-lethal errors in our analysis, suggesting that the public health burden of diagnostic errors could be twice that previously estimated. Healthcare stakeholders should consider diagnostic safety a critical health policy issue.”
According to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine neurologist David E. Neuman-Toker, one of the lead researchers in this study, “Diagnostic errors are the most common, the most costly and the most deadly of all medical errors.” He also indicated that, “there are no public reporting requirements for measuring diagnostic accuracy or error,” because diagnostic errors are not always evident immediately, as contrasted to medication and surgical errors.
Hopefully, the medical community will use the information from the study to make changes that will lead to greater patient safety.
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About the author:
Mr. Zambri is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney and Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association has recently named him the ” 2011 Trial Lawyer of the Year“. He has also been acknowledged by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 1%” of all of the more than 80,000 lawyers in the Washington metropolitan area. The magazine also acknowledged him as “one of Washington’s best–most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in medical malpractice matters, product liability claims, and serious automobile accident claims. Mr. Zambri was recently (2013 edition) acknowledged as one of the “Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers in both medical malpractice and personal injury law, and has also been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Law and Politics magazine (2013)–a national publication that honors the top lawyers in the country.
Mr. Zambri is regularly asked to present seminars to lawyers and doctors, as well as both medical and law students concerning defective drugs, medication errors, medical negligence and malpractice litigation, and safety improvements.
If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at [email protected]. You may also reach him at 202-822-1899.