A Doctor's Perspective: a Near Miss

Posted on behalf of Goldberg Finnegan, LLC on Jul 03, 2014 in Medical Malpractice

Although near misses at a hospital or doctors office are a common occurrence, the subject is not something that is easily discussed or admitted to among health care providers, according to Dr. Danielle Ofri who described her own situation in the New York Times.

She describes a nursing home patient with dementia who came into the emergency room on a busy day during her residency. As the elderly patient did not necessarily require swift treatment the next step was to try to shuffle her to another area of the hospital so that Ofri could continue attending to other patients.

During a rush to run all the necessary tests and move the patient to the intermediate care unit, diagnostic tests were incorrectly read. Although the doctor asked Ofri if all the diagnostics came back normal, her hurriedness lead her to tell the doctor yes when the answer should have been no.

The following day Ofri was informed that the patient was undergoing surgery due to intracranial bleeding, a diagnosis that was missed. Although the author describes the situation in hospital lingo as a near miss, legally it was a failure to diagnose. The patients condition could have quickly worsened and proved fatal had no other medical personnel caught the bleeding.

A 2004 study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that out of 5,900 medical malpractice claims approximately 34% were associated with a diagnostic error. Further studies have shown that 39% of diagnostic error claims resulted in the death of the patient.

Diagnostic errors are not something that should be referred to as a near miss nor should they be something too shameful to admit as these errors often lead to further medical complications and death.

At Goldberg Finnegan, our personal injury lawyers believe that medical personnel who fail to diagnose a serious condition need to be held responsible for their negligence. If you have suffered due to a medical staff members negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for treatment costs, lost wages, harm and suffering, and more.

Contact our attorneys at (888) 213-8140 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our medical malpractice attorneys.

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