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Misdiagnosis Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA

A medical misdiagnosis can have profound effects on victims. Doctors and hospitals are supposed to treat patients and any mistakes can have tragic consequences. Patients need to have confidence their doctor is going to provide the best treatment, and in the majority of cases that is exactly what happens. However, a far too frequent occurrence is a patient is misdiagnosed, and it leads to their condition worsening. This can cause a horrible situation for the patient, and leave the doctor open for a medical malpractice lawsuit. The Pittsburgh misdiagnosis lawyers at Berger Lagnese & Paul, LLC have been handling these kinds of claims for years. We know what it takes to provide you the representation you deserve to help you get the best chance at a verdict. Contact our offices today to set up a free meeting with our team of experienced medical malpractice attorneys.

Pittsburgh Attorneys Representing Misdiagnosis Victims

If a physician or other healthcare provider does not diagnose your condition correctly, this can result in a medical malpractice claim.  A physician must properly employ differential diagnosis to your situation, but studies show that wrong or missed diagnoses are far from rare.  One study has examined the most likely point in time when this critical mistake occurs.  It is when the physician is interacting directly with the patient. First, the details:  Researchers studied medical records from some 200 instances of unexpected return visits or emergency department use within 14 days of a primary care encounter — many due to missed diagnoses. The most commonly missed diagnoses were: pneumonia, congestive heart failure, and acute renal failure, cancer, and urinary tract infection. Faulty clinical encounters — involving, for example, bad history-taking, physical exam, or failure to review the existing record — were to blame in about 80% of cases. These errors and misses by the physicians often result in grave injury to the patient. The potential severity of injury associated with the delayed or missed diagnosis was classified as moderate to severe in 86.8% of cases in the study.

Patients Affected by Misdiagnosis Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA

Patients with missed diagnoses tended to be slightly older than those without errors. The medical records of the misdiagnosed tended to show no documentation of a differential diagnosis at the primary encounter. In addition, clinicians had often copied-and-pasted progress notes from the previous encounter into the electronic record. According to JAMA, ” Only about 1% of adverse events due to medical negligence result in a claim. Thus, malpractice-based rates of diagnostic errors substantially underrepresent the true impact of these events and are biased toward cases with a clear paper trail (eg, missed cancers evident on radiographic images), in which the burden of legal proof can be met more easily. None of these approaches is well suited to real-time surveillance for errors that might be rectified before harm occurs.”

Medical Malpractice Lawyers Representing Misdiagnosis Victims in Pittsburgh, PA

“Breakdowns involving the patient-practitioner clinical encounter were most often judged to be due to data-gathering and synthesis problems (ie, cognitive errors) related to the medical history (56.3%), physical examination (47.4%), ordering of diagnostic tests for further workup (57.4%), and failure to review previous documentation (15.3%). Two additional documentation-related problems were notable. First, no differential diagnosis was documented at the index visit in 81.1% of cases. Second, practitioners copied and pasted previous progress notes into the index visit note in 7.4% of cases; of these cases, copying and pasting mistakes were determined to contribute to more than one-third (35.7%) of errors.”

Disturbingly, the patients’ chief presenting symptoms were clearly associated with the commonly missed diagnoses, and should have been correctly diagnosed based on how common they are in outpatient practices.  Another notable finding was the absence of documentation of differential diagnosis, a fundamental step in the diagnostic reasoning process.

Bottom line: (1) if possible, bring a friend or family member with you if at all possible to the doctor or hospital to help get information and to ask questions; (2) be self-protective by listening carefully, taking notes, raising issues and questions, and telling the physician if something does not make sense; (3) specifically ask the physician for the differential diagnosis, and how he or she plans on ruling the possibilities in or out; (4) get a second opinion.

Contact Our Pittsburgh Offices Today to Get a Free Evaluation of Your Misdiagnosis Claim at Berger Lagnese & Paul, LLC

A misdiagnosis can lead to a lot of erroneous or ineffective treatment. This treatment could even exacerbate your condition, and make you more susceptible for further injury. You should seek out an experienced medical misdiagnosis attorney to evaluate your claim. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Berger Lagnese & Paul, LLC have been representing misdiagnosis victims in Pennsylvania for years. We pride ourselves on providing the best representation possible for you to maximize your chances at obtaining a verdict in your favor. If you have been injured at a local Pittsburgh hospital, such as St. Clair Hospital, UPMC Presbyterian Hospital or Forbes Hospital, contact our offices today to schedule your free consultation with our team of lawyers. Our office is located at 310 Grant St #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 and consultations can be scheduled either online or over the phone at (412) 471-4300.

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