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Medical Errors in the Field of Cardiology

Cardiologists have important responsibilities as they are entrusted with the treatment of conditions of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiologists are trained professionals who are held to a high standard because of their advanced education and skill within their field. Unfortunately, sometimes cardiologists can still make errors. When a cardiologist makes a mistake, the consequences are often deadly because the patient could experience a fatal heart attack.  heart-1491403

If a cardiologist makes an error, the mistake can lead to a medical malpractice claim in Chicago. Recently, Medcity News looked at some of the common causes of malpractice claims against cardiologists. Researchers reviewed 429 cardiology claims which had been resolved between 2007 and 2013. The goal was to find why people were suing in cases in which victims resolved cases with doctors.

What Are the Top Reasons for Cardiologist Medical Malpractice Claims?

According to Medcity News:

  • 25 percent of claims against cardiologists occurred as a result of diagnosis-related problems. This includes failure to diagnose a heart or blood vessel condition, a delay in a diagnosis, or diagnosing the wrong medical condition than the patient's actual health issue.
  • 14 percent of claims occurred as a result of a cardiologist's failure to properly manage the treatment the patient was receiving.
  • 12 percent of claims were brought against cardiologists for improperly performing treatment or for improperly performing a procedure the patient was undergoing.
  • 11 percent of claims were filed based on the improper performance of surgical procedures.
  • Six percent of claims alleged the cardiologist had improperly managed the patient's medication.

The researchers went further and looked at some of the reasons why adverse events occurred when cardiologists made mistakes. They discovered some common factors which caused cardiologists to make errors and led to malpractice claims. For example:

  • 25 percent of the mistakes involved patient assessment issues. Doctors made patient assessment issues when they failed to establish a differential diagnosis or when they did not make proper use of clinical information. They also made patient assessment errors when they did not order the proper diagnostic tests, when they delayed in the tests they ordered, or when they failed to follow up and address the findings when abnormalities were revealed.
  • 21 percent of the mistakes involved problems with the cardiologists' technical performance of his job. The problems included poor technique or misidentifying anatomical structures. In some cases, injury suffered by the patient was a known complication of the treatment.
  • 20 percent of the mistakes occurred as a result of patient factors, including failure on the part of the patient to comply with the treatment or medication plan.
  • 18 percent of errors occurred in the selection of treatment or management of therapy. Doctors failed to order medication or failed to prescribe the right medication. Sometimes, they recommended the wrong surgical procedures which weren't appropriate for the patient.
  • 15 percent of the problems involved communication issues among providers. Doctors failed to review medical records or communicate with other treating professionals.
  • 14 percent of issues due to communication problems between the doctor and the patient or family members. This included inadequate follow-up instructions.

When cardiologists make these or other mistakes, they can be held accountable for the consequences.

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