Diagnostic errors can be the result of a multitude of things. However, there are some common behaviors that one doctor recently warned about to help other health care professionals prevent diagnostic errors and improve their bedside manner.
In an article for MD Magazine, internist Simon Murray, M.D., shares some of his personal experiences and what he has learned about improving diagnostic tactics:
Health care providers shouldn’t get overconfident. Even if a medical professional feels sure he or she knows what the symptoms are pointing to, it is important to listen to the patient and give them time to tell their story, not just answer closed-ended questions.
Doctors should avoid VIP syndrome and personal bias. Although there are certain patients doctors personally connect with more than others, that connection can sometimes lead to the overtreatment or undertreatment of the patient. Whether dealing with a sweet and pleasant patient or a rude and paranoid one, doctors must focus on following best practices in diagnosis.
Always be willing to learn from mistakes. Not every mistake results in harm to a patient, and it’s important that health care professionals be willing to learn from their mistakes to prevent serious medical errors from occurring in the future. As Dr. Murray pointed out: “To err is human, but awareness is the first step in limiting the number of errors we make.”
What Are Medical Errors?
In general, a medical error is any act taken or decision made by a provider that deviates from the medically accepted standard of care. Physicians must deliver care in accordance with what a reasonably prudent doctor would provide to a patient when presented with similar circumstances.
Medical errors are shockingly common. According to Health care IT company Healthware Systems, they occur so frequently that 21 percent of patients report experience with a mistake of some kind. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine published medical error statistics for 2018, finding that approximately 251,500 patients die every year due to mistakes in the health care environment. This figure makes medical errors the third-leading cause of death in the U.S.
The True Cost of Medical Errors
Though every patient’s experience with medical errors is different, the financial toll of medical errors is staggering. A victim may suffer such losses as:
- Exorbitant medical bills
- Lost wages
- The costs of long-term care
- Pain, suffering, and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Implications affecting personal relationships
How Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help
Medical errors are a form of medical malpractice, an area of law that allows a patient to pursue compensation for a health care provider’s misconduct. Our lawyers at Baker & Gilchrist assist victims and their families in seeking monetary damages for the extensive losses that can result from a medical error.
These cases are extremely complex and require intense investigation to gather the necessary medical evidence. To succeed on such a claim, it’s essential to retain experienced medical malpractice attorneys who have a deep knowledge of the system and will fight to protect your interests.
Discuss Your Claim with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you suffered injuries due to a medical error, please contact the Indianapolis office of Baker & Gilchrist now. We can schedule a free consultation to review your circumstances and explain your legal remedies.