Misdiagnosis is Main Factor in Primary Care Lawsuits

An analysis of Massachusetts malpractice claims showed that more than 70 percent of lawsuits related to primary care were diagnosis-related, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers analyzed malpractice claims filed in the state of Massachusetts between 2005 and 2009. Of the approximately 7,200 claims, about 8 percent came from primary care practices.

Medication and medical treatment were distant second and third complaints in primary care settings, coming in at 12 and 7 percent of the lawsuits, respectively.

Of the primary practice malpractice claims filed, 35 percent settled and 1.6 of those that went to court resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff, compared to non-general claims, 20 percent of which settled and 0.9 percent of which resulted in a verdict for the plaintiff.

Researcher concluded that most primary care malpractice lawsuits are related to misdiagnosis, and such lawsuits may be more difficult to defend.

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