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Study highlights lawsuits against emergency physicians

Patients in North Carolina may be interested in learning about a study released by the Doctor's Group on April 13, which shows that emergency physicians face lawsuits more often than other types of medical specialists. The study examined 332 different claims against emergency physicians, from 2007 to 2013, finding that improper diagnosis was involved in more than half of the claims. The study proposed that emergency physicians often do not properly use information provided by patients and their medical records to form a diagnosis. In the study, the researchers took into account that emergency physicians work with new patients more often than other types of specialists.

The study revealed that improper management of patient illnesses by emergency physicians can often lead to medical malpractice claims. The researchers found that patient injury and illness most often occurred when doctors did not conduct a differential diagnosis to consider different causes of symptoms, give patients the right medications for their conditions or use necessary procedures to diagnose or treat their conditions.

Sometimes the lack of equipment for certain types of patients, such as obese individuals, led to issues in patient diagnosis. The study also revealed that staffing issues, especially a shortage of staff on the weekends, can lead to an incomplete diagnosis or communication issues between medical staff.

When an emergency physician's failure to diagnose a patient correctly results in a worsened condition or new injury, a patient may be able to bring a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or medical staff for damages related to medical bills, time off from work or emotional pain and suffering. In North Carolina, patients have two to four years to bring medical malpractice claims. A personal injury attorney may be able to help patients to reach a settlement with an insurance company or medical facility or gather evidence, including an expert medical opinion.

Source: Yahoo Finance, "Study Reveals Why Emergency Medicine Physicians Are Sued," April 13, 2015

Source: FindLaw, "North Carolina Civil Statute of Limitations Law," accessed on April 13, 2015

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