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What is the main reason people sue doctors?

You hear of many different reasons to sue doctors in North Carolina, and many of the ones that are talked about the most are fairly dramatic—like a doctor amputating the wrong arm and leaving a person with a disability that will drastically impact his or her life forever. However, things like this are not the main reason lawsuits begin.

Studies show that the true main reason for lawsuits against doctors is that they failed to make a diagnosis. One study reported that the percentages of lawsuits started this way could range from 26 percent to 63 percent. It looked at patients in the United States and examined cases from overseas, looking at Australia, France and Canada.

For adults, the ailments that were missed the most were cancer and heart attacks. For children, the most common missed disease was meningitis. The end result that showed up the most was the death of the patient.

When you consider chronic disease like this, it all does make sense. Imagine that someone doesn't feel well and believes he or she has cancer. To check, the person goes to the doctor and is told it doesn't appear that anything is wrong. Satisfied, the person does nothing for a year. When the symptoms get worse, that person goes in again, finds out that he or she does have cancer, and that it's now too advanced for treatment—when it could have been successfully treated a year before. Even a delayed diagnosis can have a serious impact when dealing with these types of diseases.

The families of those who have lost loved ones in this way in North Carolina must know their legal rights to compensation.

Source: Live Science, "Failure to Diagnose Is No. 1 Reason for Suing Doctors," Rachael Rettner, accessed Nov. 25, 2015

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