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Massachusetts medical malpractice cases show Primary Care Physicians guilty of many diagnostic errors

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A recent study conducted by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) followed patterns of primary care medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts. Results showed 72 percent of malpractice cases against primary care physicians (PCPs) manifested as a result of misdiagnoses claims. Such claims were majorly in response to PCPs being remiss in referring a patient to the appropriate specialist and/or failure to follow up on abnormal test results.

According to an article in the Boston Globe, Dr. Gordon Schiff of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who led the research in the JAMA study, found the high number of cases stemming from simple diagnostic errors alarming. While research usually points to such mistakes in primary care claims, Dr. Gordon Schiff did not expect the misdiagnoses accusations to account for such a large portion of the medical malpractice lawsuits filed against Massachusetts PCPs.

The JAMA study also acknowledged the high level of difficulty associated with defending primary care claims, as opposed to other areas of malpractice. Numbers showed that more medical malpractice cases filed against PCPs resulted in settlement or a verdict in favor of the plaintiff than those filed against specialists in the state of Massachusetts.

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