When General Practitioners Fail to Diagnose Heart Disease

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Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Medical NegligenceNew research published in The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety reveals that close to 25 percent of patients with a misdiagnosis of heart attack or coronary artery disease had a history of cardiovascular disease. The research was conducted by CRICO Strategies and The Doctors Company. Unfortunately, failing to recognize the signs or risk factors for heart disease can put the patient at serious risk. For many of these physicians, these misdiagnoses often end in medical malpractice lawsuits.

The researchers involved in the study looked at 251 closed medical malpractice cases wherein the patient claimed that the outpatient physician missed a cardiovascular diagnosis. In these cases, there was a higher likelihood of a severe injury, compared to malpractice claims in general. Researchers found the following key results from the study:

  • Twenty-three percent of patients in the study who were eventually diagnosed with myocardial infarction or coronary atherosclerosis had a history of cardiovascular disease. This was one of the highest pretest predictors of cardiovascular disease.
  • Of the patients with a missed diagnosis of coronary artery disease, the majority had an initial diagnosis of conditions that could be mistaken for heart disease.

According to Gene R. Quinn, MD, MS, MPH, and co-author of the study, physicians need to consider other risk factors when diagnosing conditions like esophageal disease. What surprised Quinn most from the study results was the fact that cardiovascular medical malpractice claims in outpatient general medicine mainly occur in patients with the typical risk factors of cardiovascular disease, as opposed to low-risk patients. In other words, based on the study results, physicians are missing the signs that are common red flags for cardiovascular disease. Physicians should consider the fact that patients whose chart shows a history of certain comorbidities, such as diabetes, smoking, and previous cardiovascular disease, may be currently suffering from cardiovascular disease.

Darrell Ranum, Vice President of Patient Safety and Risk Management at The Doctors Company, and co-author of the study, is encouraged by the study results as he believes that the findings will decrease diagnostic errors and improve patient safety. He commented that the research brings much needed attention to some of the risks that others may not see and that we must continue these efforts by developing simple, scalable interventions that are easy to implement in order to prevent further diagnostic errors in patients at risk of cardiac disease.

Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Seek Compensation for Victims of Medical Negligence

 If you or a loved one has a serious cardiac condition that was misdiagnosed by a physician, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our dedicated and experienced team will thoroughly examine the details of your case so that we can determine who is responsible for failing to properly diagnose your condition. We will fight hard to obtain the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, do not hesitate to call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent medical malpractice victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.