According to new data published by BMJ Open, primary care doctors most often face malpractice charges for drug errors and failing to diagnose conditions like heart attacks, cancer, and meningitis. The study was based on international data from nations including the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.
California primary care doctors will certainly want to take a closer look at the state’s data to see exactly how its healthcare providers measure up. Hospital negligence and failure to diagnose crucial conditions affect many California patients each year and many others throughout the country. The study found that most malpractice claims filed against primary care physicians involve a failure to diagnose conditions such as heart attacks and strokes.
Failing to diagnose these conditions means that healthcare providers also delayed assistance and care to people who were at risk for medical injuries, complications, and even death. If there was any good news, the highest incidence of these malpractice claims occurred overseas in Australia. The report gives California doctors concrete information about definite areas in healthcare that need to be addressed in order to reduce medical malpractice cases and safeguard patients’ health.
Patients who visit primary care doctors need to document the times when their doctor denies them a referral, particularly when they are still feeling unwell or not recovering as they should. Ultimately, it’s also important for patients to acknowledge this data and understand that doctors make mistakes and it’s better to catch them in these mistakes sooner rather than later by proactively requesting a referral or seeking a second opinion.
Source: ScienceDaily, “Missed diagnoses and drug errors make up bulk of primary care malpractice claims,” July 19, 2013