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Misdiagnosis common among primary care doctors

From prescription errors to misdiagnosis, medical malpractice can result in serious personal injuries, even death. While significant attention has been made to medical errors that take place in hospitals, less attention has been paid to mistakes made in outpatient settings such as primary care physicians' offices. Maryland readers might be interested to read about a recent study conducted on medical professional error and primary care physicians.

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine, medical errors in outpatient settings such as doctors' offices and other primary care settings may be far more widespread than first believed. Further, the new research study, which is one of the first studies to look extensively at medical errors among primary care doctors, suggests that the type of medical mistakes that are taking place could very well lead to patient harm.

The study found that physicians practicing in outpatient settings often missed or forgot vital steps in the diagnostic process. Researchers noted that many of the diagnostic errors found in the study were caused by doctors' failure to properly examine their patients or to take full and accurate medical histories. The author of the study also commented that some medical emergencies that occurred after patients visited with their doctor could have been avoided.

When a patient is injured because of a doctor's mistakes, it can be very confusing. For those interested in damages for medical bills, lost wages or wrongful death, a medical malpractice case may be the answer. Medical malpractice liability extends to many activities including improper treatment, treating a patient without permission and a doctor's failure to properly diagnose. If a patient experiences any of these, it may be time to speak with an attorney.

Source:, "Study shows docs often fail to detect pneumonia and other serious conditions during exams," James T. Mulder, Feb. 26, 2013

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