Posted on Jan 09, 2012

Cancer is most effectively treated when it is found in its early stages. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology found that some patients may suffer from a failure to diagnose cancer, and other diseases, because of a breakdown in communication that should be avoidable.

According to the study, medical malpractice payouts for communication breakdowns, such as the failure to share test results, quadrupled in the United States between 1991 and 2010. In 1991, the estimated cost of these mistakes was about $22 million. In 2010, the estimated cost of these mistakes was $91 million.

The study looked at data from 425 hospitals and 52,000 health care providers and found that the most common causes of communication breakdowns were:

  • The patient did not receive test results from the doctor.
  • The doctor did not receive the test results from the lab or other physician.
  • Delays or slow turnarounds in reading test results.
  • Test results were filed away by the office staff before doctors were able to read them.

Experts suggest that the better coordination of care and the use of electronic medical records could prevent communication breakdowns from causing medical malpractice failure to diagnose problems in the future.

Our Atlanta cancer malpractice attorneys support measures to prevent future medical malpractice accidents, and we wish everyone injured by a failed or delayed diagnosis of cancer a speedy and complete recovery.

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