When any kind of sickness and illness afflicts an individual, most visit their primary care physician for healthcare solutions. Patients hope that their primary care doctor, who is likely most familiar with the patient’s health status, can pinpoint or rule out medical conditions.
Despite all the faith that patients place in their primary care doctors to diagnose aliments such as heart disease, Pennsylvania residents may find a recent study interesting. According to a study by The Doctor Company, primary care physicians were sued by patients more often that specialty doctors for failing to diagnose heart disease, particularly in women.
When it comes to failing to diagnose coronary heart disease lawsuits, primary care physicians were sued nearly 50% of the time, followed by cardiologists and emergency care doctors who were sued 22% and 17% of the time respectively. In the study, 41 malpractice claims from 2007 to 2013 were examined where serious injury and death from coronary heart disease in women resulted. A majority cited misdiagnosis as the cause of their injury. Furthermore, over 80% of the cases identified insufficient patient assessment as another factor resulting in injuries to patients. Other causes cited included complete failure or delay in referring the patient for a consultation with a specialist, and documentation issues.
One doctor noted that when it comes to health concerns related to the heart, a delayed or misdiagnosis could result in a very bad outcome. However in an effort to minimize the chance of a medical malpractice lawsuit, one doctor noted that it is essential to get a detailed medical history from the patient. Additionally, it is essential to make sure the medical information pertaining to patients is adequately and properly communicated to others doctors and specialists involved in the care of that patient. Finally, it is important to maintain detailed documents on what transpires between the patient and doctors. It may also be helpful to get the patients family involved to ensure that all parties are on the same page when it comes to patients care, doctor’s recommendations and more.
Despite all the steps a doctor and a patient may take, any Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyer will agree that medical errors and mistakes still occur resulting in serious harm and even death. In such cases, it may help the injured party or the family to contact an attorney for more information.
Source: Family Practice News, “Who gets sued when heart disease is missed?,” Alicia Gallegos, Feb. 1, 2014