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Students are required to attend years of school and a residency in order to become medical doctors in Springfield, Massachusetts. This is in order to ensure that the doctor is properly educated and trained so that he or she can competently care for his or her patients. Those who visit their doctors rely on their expertise and knowledge to make a correct diagnosis. However, a surprisingly high amount of cases are misdiagnosed each year, sometimes leading to serious problems and even death.

This is according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers looked at approximately 550 malpractice lawsuits that were filed against primary care doctors in Massachusetts between 2005 and 2009. Of these, 72 percent were filed because of a misdiagnosis.

These misdiagnoses were caused by a variety of reasons including the doctor not taking the appropriate amount of time with the patient during the physical exam, not referring the patient to a specialist when warranted and failing to follow up when an abnormal test result came back. A large portion of the lawsuits included cases where cancer, heart disease, stroke or infections had been misdiagnosed. In more than a third of the lawsuits against primary care physicians, the malpractice insurers settled with the patient.

In the field of medicine, there really is no room for error. If you have been a victim of a misdiagnosis, you may wish to speak with an attorney regarding your case. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering and medical costs.

Source: Boston.com, “Missed diagnosis most common malpractice accusation,” Deborah Kotz, Oct. 6, 2013