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Cancer misdiagnosis leading cause for malpractice claims

New Yorkers do not need to have a degree in medicine to know how crucial early detection of cancer can be. A delayed treatment as well as a cancer misdiagnosis increases the risk of the spread of the disease and the eventual worsened condition of the patient. Although medical practitioners are very much aware of this fact, a recent medical malpractice report stated that failure to diagnose was the leading cause of medical malpractice lawsuits.

In Medscape's most recent Malpractice Report, results showed that among the medical specialties, 15 percent of the 1,400 physicians who practice internal medicine included in the report were sued for medical malpractice. But the most disturbing part of the report is that 35 percent of the lawsuits came from the physician's failure to diagnose diseases.

This glaring detail has become even more troubling since the report revealed that the 35 percent mostly comprised failure to detect cancer and myocardial infarction. These two diseases are considered time-sensitive, meaning that timely treatment is necessary. Otherwise, cancer can easily progress to its terminal stages and myocardial infarction - irreversible deterioration of the heart - can undoubtedly turn fatal.

On a more positive note, 18 percent of patients who filed a malpractice lawsuit received up to $100,000 in compensation, while 16 percent were awarded $500,000 and 2 percent received more than $2 million in compensation.

For Queens, New York, patients subjected to a medical practitioner's negligence, immediate action can make a significant difference. It may be crucial when it comes to obtaining compensation for treatment to counteract or reduce the damage that has already occurred. Moreover, prompt action is critical when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit before New York's statute of limitations runs out.

Source: Physician's Weekly "Top 10 Specialties Sued: 2013 Malpractice Report," July 30, 2013

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