What do you think is the largest reason for medical malpractice lawsuits in the United States? Wrong-site surgery? Being given the wrong medication? A surgical site that gets infected and leads to serious complications?

If you simply said “diagnostic errors,” then you understand exactly how common these mistakes really are. When looking at data starting in 2013 and ending in 2017, a study found out that no single cause led to more claims. In total, they accounted for a full 33 percent. The report cited “poor clinical decisions” in more than 50 percent of those claims.

The second-most noted reason was a mistake made during surgery, with 24 percent of the total. In the No. 3 spot, with 14 percent, were issues with medical management.

The number of claims made due to diagnostic errors really helps to show just how detrimental these mistakes can be. A misdiagnosis — or one that is missed entirely — can have devastating results.

For instance, perhaps you have cancer. You notice some strange symptoms and you head in to the doctor, and it’s clear that a medical professional should find the cancer. This early, it would be easily treatable and you would survive. The doctor misses it, though, and it progresses to your lymph nodes. From there, it spreads throughout your body. By the time it is caught, it’s no longer treatable, but a terminal condition.

Of course, many cases are far less dire than that example, but it is still important for people who have experienced diagnostic errors to know about all of the legal options they have to seek compensation.

Source: Modern Healthcare, “Diagnostic errors are largest contributor to medical malpractice claims,” Maria Castellucci, accessed April 20, 2018