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Illinois patients suffer injuries due to misdiagnosis

Illinois readers may have read about medical negligence claims brought against health care professionals for alleged surgical errors. The injuries resulting from botched surgical procedures are often horrific, and hence, newsworthy. With the ever-increasing amount of new pharmaceuticals available on the market, media reports about patients suffering from adverse medical interactions or prescription errors also seem to be a growing presence.

Yet according to a new study, the leading cause of patient injuries is attributable to an old-fashioned culprit: diagnostic error. Researchers looked at patient data over a 25-year period, as reported in over 350,000 medical malpractice claims. Of the claims that received some sort of payment, over one-quarter alleged harm arising from a doctor's failure to correctly diagnose a patient's condition.

Patients may have enough anxiety about an upcoming procedure without worrying whether their doctor or hospital staff members might be negligent. Medical licensing requirements hold doctors to a high standard of care. If that duty is breached and results in patient injury, a doctor may have to answer for that medical negligence.

Yet such allegations of personal injury or wrongful death, often brought via a medical malpractice lawsuit, often require expert testimony to prove that a doctor's behavior was erroneous or negligent. Fortunately, attorneys that specialize in this area of law might know how to build such a case from the ground up. An injured patient likely needs to conserve his or her energy for recuperation. Such individuals -- or their surviving family members -- may feel most comfortable leaving the task of extensive fact-finding to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

Source: huffingtonpost.com, "Diagnostic Errors More Common In Medical Malpractice Claims Than Surgical, Medication Errors: Study," April 24, 2013

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