Missouri residents may be interested in a new study claiming that emergency care physicians are much more likely to face medical malpractice lawsuits than their counterparts in other fields. Patients seeking emergency medical care are also more likely to receive improper treatment, according to the research. The Doctors Company, a national medical malpractice insurance company, conducted the 2015 study to determine the risk factors that make misdiagnosis more likely in emergency medicine. The study analyzed 332 separate malpractice claims and found that 57 percent of claims were related to a failure to diagnose in one form or another.
According to the study, 13 percent of cases resulted from improper treatment management while another 5 percent resulted from incorrectly administered treatment. Obesity accounted for 21 percent of cases, including cases in which inappropriately sized equipment led to treatment delays. The medical director of The Doctors Company suggested that these findings demonstrate the vast range of issues that emergency physicians are expected to address during treatment.
Because emergency medicine often requires physicians to diagnose newly presenting conditions with no medical history, there is often less information to work with. The study also explained the risk of emergency physicians not carefully examining each patient's history of illness to determine whether a given treatment option is appropriate. Quality control measures on emergency treatment and case management could improve overall patient care and reduce the risk of a malpractice lawsuit, according to experts.
An attorney may be able to help malpractice victims receive compensation for any problems caused by a failed or mismanaged diagnosis. Patients who lose income while recovering from injury or illness caused by doctor errors may also be entitled to recoup their lost wages.