Researchers analysed 34 studies published over the past two years. In the United States primary care doctors accounted for between 7.6 per cent and 16 per cent of all negligence claims, according to the study which was published in the BMJ Open.
Missed diagnoses were the most common cause of medical negligence claims against primary care doctors, accounting for 26 per cent to 63 per cent of the total, reported a team led by Dr. Emma Wallace of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
The most common consequence of missed diagnoses in malpractice claims was death, which occurred in 15 per cent to 48 per cent of the claims.
Among adults, the most common alleged missed diagnoses were cancer, heart attack, appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy and broken bones. Among children, the most common alleged missed diagnoses were meningitis and cancers.
The second most common reason for malpractice claims were drug errors, account for between 5.6 per cent and 20 per cent of all claims in the studies.
In the US only 33 per cent of medical negligence claims were successful.
Speaking about the studies’ results Liam Moloney, medical negligence solicitor in Naas Co Kildare said today “It is clear that across all medical specialities, misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses are the top reasons for medical negligence claims. Many of these claims involve cancer and heart attacks. It also shows that it is quite difficult to succeed in medical negligence claims although the study did show that 33 per cent of claims were successful.”