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Malpractice Causation Study

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Physician Errors Play Role in Malpractice

Dr. David Edward Marcinko; FACFAS, MBA


According to a two-year old report in the Annals of Internal Medicine, physician errors are a factor in about 60% of medical malpractice claims that involved patients allegedly injured because of missed or delayed diagnoses. 


A B&WH Study 


For the study, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston reviewed 307 claims from four large malpractice insurers that were closed between 1984 and 2004. 181 of the claims involved diagnostic errors that allegedly injured patients; and ignored the outcomes of the claims. Although most of the claims involved several factors, the major ones involved physician errors. 


The Results 


According to the study:


  • 100 claims involved failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests; 
  • 81 claims involved failure to establish a plan for appropriate follow-up care;  
  • 76 claims involved failure to obtain an adequate H&P or PE; 
  • 67 claims involved improper interpretation of diagnostic tests.  


Contributing Factors


The main factors that contributed to the physician errors included failures in judgment (79%); memory problems (59%), lack of knowledge (48%), negative patient-related issues (46%); and patient handoffs from other physicians (20%).




The critical thinker can only wonder if “failures in judgment”, “memory problems”, and “lack of diagnostic knowledge” may be related to informed consent issues; otherwise parsed or nebulous. 




And so, how does this study impact your thoughts on the entire informed-consent continuum, process and forms; real issue or red herring? Please opine and comment? 


Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko MBA is available for medical seminars or other speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

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Related Information Sources:

Board Certification Preparation: www.PodiatryPrep.com

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Referrals: Thank you in advance for your electronic referrals to www.ePodiatryConsentForms.com

Written by Dr. Marcinko

May 1, 2008 at 9:54 pm

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