Diagnostic Errors

Malpractice claims alleging diagnostic errors

  • Failure to diagnose cornual pregnancy

    Failure to diagnose cornual pregnancy

    A 33-year-old woman came to the emergency department (ED) complaining of bilateral abdominal pain, back pain, and shortness of breath.

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  • Failure to diagnose retained sponge

    A 55-year-old woman was admitted to a hospital in New Mexico for a colostomy reversal.

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  • Failure to diagnose tuberculosis

    A two-year-old boy with a five-day history of intermittent fever and stomachache was brought to his pediatrician. The child was diagnosed with a viral syndrome and treated with simethicone drops

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  • Delay in detecting melanoma

    A 58-year-old man came to his family physician for evaluation of a lesion on his back. The man was a long-time patient of this physician.

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  • Failure to follow up on mammogram

    Failure to follow up on mammogram

    A 54-year-old woman returned to her primary care physician, Family Physician A. The patient reported pain in her left arm, chest, and back that had continued for a week.

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  • Failure to diagnose rhabdomyolysis

    At 3:20 p.m., a 3-year-old girl was brought to the emergency department (ED) with complaints of fever, lethargy, sore throat, severe leg pain bilaterally with decreased sensation, and absent reflexes.

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  • Failure to diagnose appendicitis

    A 6-year-old boy, accompanied by his mother, came to Pediatrician A for a sick visit on October 21. The child had a five-day history of fussiness, sore throat, coughing, vomiting, stomach pain.

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  • Failure to diagnose pneumonia

    A five-year-old girl was brought by her parents to a clinic and seen by a pediatrician as a new patient. The patient came with a one-day history of fever recorded as 104.5 degrees.

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  • Misdiagnosis of pancreatic cancer

    The patient, a 36-year-old woman, had a 10-year history of a pancreatic cyst. She had two fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies in the previous year.

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  • Negligent identification of biopsy tissue

    After two years of finasteride therapy for benign prostatic hyperplasia, a 55-year-old man was referred to a urologist’s office.

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  • Failure to correctly read biopsy specimen

    A 50-year-old woman had a digital screening mammogram. When compared to a mammogram taken five years earlier, the new mammogram revealed possible new calcifications.

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  • Failure to diagnose femur fracture

    A 28-year-old man was involved in a motorcycle collision, sustaining multiple injuries. The man hit the side of a trailer and was thrown off his motorcycle.

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  • Failure to evaluate patient

    A 72-year-old man was evaluated by Ophthalmologist A on several occasions. The patient had cataracts, with best corrected visual acuity of 20/25 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left eye.

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  • Failure to respond to shoulder dystocia

    A 24-year-old pregnant woman began prenatal care with her OB-GYN physician at approximately 24 weeks into her pregnancy. This was the patient’s second pregnancy; her first pregnancy was aborted.

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  • Failure to diagnose and treat dissection of the carotid artery

    A 35-year-old woman delivered her third child and was discharged from the hospital two days later. Her pregnancy had been complicated by preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

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  • Failure to diagnose breast cancer

    A 49-year-old African-American woman came to an internal medicine physician in August 2001. She continued to see this physician and his physician’s assistant for several years.

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  • Failure to diagnose Churg-Strauss Syndrome

    A 44-year-old man came to the ED with swelling of the lower extremities and ecchymosis present for the past six days. He denied nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

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  • Failure to manage medications

    In December 2008, a 76-year-old woman came to an internist to establish a primary care relationship and to seek treatment for itching.

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  • Failure to properly advise patient

    A 37-year-old woman of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, with a strong family history for breast cancer, had a mammogram performed as part of an annual exam.

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  • Failure to diagnose and treat thrombosis

    A 66-year-old man came to his internist with complaints of shortness of breath and chest pain that had been present for three to four weeks.

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