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Misdiagnosis is on the rise in busy hospitals

The demand for health care is on the rise. As more people seek medical treatment, North Carolina's hospitals will only become busier. Already, the medical community is seeing the impacts of expanding the duties of physicians. Hospital doctors are being given larger amounts of responsibility, and the number of medical malpractice claims have grown during the same period.

According to a report from a physician's insurance organization, the number of claims against hospitalists is noticeably increasing. A significant portion of these claims, as high as 34 percent, of the claims are related to incorrect diagnoses.

In addition to larger numbers of hospital-related malpractice cases, hospitalists are the fastest growing population of doctors. These medical professionals are asked to perform a variety of duties throughout medical institutions. And, as some have discovered, balancing their duties with effective patient care may also become increasingly difficult.

Certainly, doctors are responsible for their practice, but the policies enforced by health care institutions can also have an effect on the quality of care patients receive. If doctors are being overworked, the quality of their work might slip. Unfortunately, that means that patients are directly affected.

A failure to diagnose a medical condition with accuracy can have devastating effects. If a doctor makes the wrong call, then a patient's condition may only get worse as their true medical issues progress or the incorrectly prescribed treatment proves to be detrimental.

People deserve to trust their doctors are making the right judgments. Unfortunately, however, this recently released study may not provide the kind of confidence patients deserve.

Source: Amednews.com, "Unwanted price to hospitalists' growth -- more liability suits," Alicia Gallegos, May 20, 2013

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