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Diagnosis errors are prevalent in cardiovascular diseases

With July being Medical Malpractice Awareness Month nationwide, including in Illinois, new research that shows physicians frequently fail to notice early indications of heart disease might be worth discussing. A joint study by a medical malpractice company and a firm that specializes in research and analysis recently published evidence that diagnosis errors by general practitioners in outpatient facilities are frequent occurrences. The study was based on over 250 cases of medical malpractice in which doctors failed to notice signs of cardiovascular diseases that had significant chances of ultimately leading to conditions that are more serious.

Data revealed that the majority of the patients were diagnosed with conditions that showed similar signs and symptoms to that of heart disease, like musculoskeletal pain, esophageal reflux and more. Nearly one-quarter of the patients that ultimately received a diagnosis of coronary atherosclerosis or myocardial infarction had recorded cardiovascular disease histories. A co-author of the study expressed his surprise at finding that the majority of medical malpractice claims were brought by patients who showed typical cardiac disease risk factors and not those who were low-risk cases.

The fact that general practitioners and physician are missing diagnosis that could be classified as easy diagnosis because the signs are all there. The researchers that were involved in the study recommend more care is taken in diagnosing patients that show symptoms that could indicate heart problems. Another member of the research team said this study underscores a patient safety risk that might have gone unnoticed before.

While studies such as this, along with awareness programs like Medical Malpractice Awareness Month, might lead to fewer diagnosis errors, they will probably continue to occur. Victims of such errors are entitled to pursue recovery of damages through the civil justice system of Illinois. However, because it is such a complicated field of the law, many victims choose to use the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney to navigate lawsuits for them.

Source: cardiovascularbusiness.com, "Study: Physicians miss early signs of heart disease more often than they should", Katherine Davis, July 5, 2017

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