Jump to Navigation

Primary Care Malpractice Claims Lead to Most Payments

Photo of Armand Leone

Primary Care Malpractice claims against primary care physicians are more difficult to defend and lead to a higher percentage of paid claims. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reported a study of 7224 malpractice claims over a 5 year period in Massachusetts, with 551 arising from primary outpatient care. The study found that although primary care claims accounted for only 7.7% of claims, they were significantly more likely to be settled (35% vs. 20%) and/or result in a plaintiff's verdict (1.6% vs. 0.9%).

Most primary care malpractice claims are related to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, which accounted for 85% of claims. The diagnosis of cancer, heart disease, vascular disease, infections and stroke were the leading conditions that were misdiagnosed or diagnosed after an unacceptable delay. Failure or delays in the diagnosis of breast cancer, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and prostate cancer are the leading causes of these claims. Other causes of claims are medication errors and other in-office medical treatments. Compared with claims against specialists, primary care claims are harder to defend. The increasing complexity of patients being treated as outpatients, discontinuities in care and increasing limitations on the amount of time that primary care doctors can spend with patients are the reasons. Even simple actions, such as following up on tests and making referrals, are creating malpractice exposure because of the increased volume of patients being seen.

When there is a failure to diagnose cancer or heart disease during early stages, the error often results in catastrophic injury when the diagnosis is made only after the cancer has spread or the heart disease causes heart attack or stroke. Only a careful review of the primary care records can tell if such injury was preventable. As more care is transferred to the out-patient setting, the risk of errors by primary care physicians is also likely to increase.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

"The mission of Britcher Leone, LLC is to unite the professional disciplines of medicine and law to help the victims of physicians' malpractice and serious personal injury restore their future and the future of their families." RSS FindLaw Network
Verdicts & Settlements
  • $1,237,004 Verdict for Failure to Properly Treat
  • $42 Million Dollar Vaccine Injury Structured Settlement
  • $5.7 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $3.8 Million Present Value Pediatric Urological Surgery Settlement
  • $3.38 Million Gross Medical Malpractice Verdict
  • $1.65 Million Present Value Spinal Surgery Settlement
  • $5.2 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $40 Million Vaccine Structured Award
  • $19 Million Vaccine Structured Award
  • $2.5 Million Failure to Timely Diagnose Breast Cancer Verdict
  • $16 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $13.6 Million Obstetrical Malpractice Structured Settlement
  • $3.5 Million Resort Negligence Settlement
  • $60 Million Flu Vaccine Structured Settlement
  • $2 Million Wrongful Birth/Wrongful Life Settlement
  • $3.5 Million Present Value Wrongful Death Settlement
  • $1.59 Million Medical Malpractice Judgment
  • $800,000 Recovery Failure to Treat Eye Infection and Vision Loss
  • $1.35 Million Wrongful Death Settlement
  • $1.2 Million Failure to Provide Adequate Security Settlement
  • $850,000 Settlement for Brachial Plexus/Shoulder Dystocia Injury
  • $1 Million Podiatric Malpractice Judgment
  • $863,000 Orthopedic Malpractice Judgment
  • $850,000 Radiology Malpractice Settlement
  • $800,000 Cardiology Malpractice/Wrongful Death Settlement
View All Verdicts
Google+ LinkedIn Uniting Medicine & Law | Rebuilding Your Future