Study finds failure to diagnose as leading cause of malpractice claims

Heart failure occurs when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to vital organs in the body but does not necessarily mean that the heart has stopped pumping. Heart failure is a serious disease the affects approximately 5.7 million people in the U.S. each year and is one of the main causes of death for about 55,000 annually, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Signs of heart failure missed by doctors

According to the CDC, approximately half of those individuals that are diagnosed with heart failure die within a five year time period. For those with heart failure whose doctors that are unable to detect the sings of this disease, this time period to live may be even less after a correct diagnosis is made.

A new study that looked at medical malpractices claims in the U.S., Australia, France and Canada, discovered that the most common reason why patients decide to sue their doctors is because they failed to diagnosis them with an illness, says the Huffington Post. Researchers found that the diseases that most doctors missed included:

  • Cancers, specifically breast, colon and lung cancers.
  • Meningitis in children.
  • Heart attacks amongst adults.

Unfortunately, among the cases that the study reviewed, the most common outcome for a doctor missing one of these diseases was death.

Breath test could pose as a solution to diagnosing heart failure

In order for a doctor to determine whether or not their patient may suffer from heart failure, a variety of methods are typically used. A doctor will usually look at the medical history of their patient, their family's medical history, have their patient take a physical exam and look out for other signs and symptoms associated with this disease.

However, according to Web MD, a simple breath test may be the solution for diagnosing heart failure and may prevent patients from going undiagnosed. Although this tool is still in the early stages of development, its outlook is promising. Researchers on the study found that this new breath test was able to accurately diagnose heart failure 100 percent of the time among newly admitted hospital patients that they studied. This new technology is also highly beneficial not just because of its promising results, but because the test can be taken in a hospital, clinic or wherever the device is available.

Unfortunately, technology like this breath detection device is still in its infancy and many live with a serious disease like heart failure untreated because their doctor failed to recognize its presence. If your doctor failed to detect a life-threatening illness, contact an attorney in your area that can help protect your legal rights.