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With the recent endorsement of the American College of Cardiology and the associated discount that comes with this association membership, this ‘page’ is dedicated to this growing, important specialty. Cardiology is one medical specialty with higher than average medical malpractice litigation rates. According to a recent large closed claims study conducted by The Doctors’ Company, failure to diagnose and improper procedure are the two most common areas of claims. This may be because of the severity of likely outcomes if there is a diagnostic or treatment error. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of heart attack is a common allegation in medical malpractice lawsuits across all primary care specialties (especially in this era of managing care and metrics of performance.This is particularly common in providing emergency medical care, cardiologists called into assist or consult during these emergencies may miss an important signal. It is not clear what proportion of heart attack malpractice cases involve cardiologists versus emergency physicians in the ER. Thirty percent (30% ) of the dollars for ER medical malpractice lawsuits involve heart attack malpractice.
Heart attack can simply be misdiagnosed by the patient themselves, mistakenly believing that they have heartburn, reflux, GERD, or some other gastrointestinal complaint. Similarly, patients with a history of angina may mistakenly believe that it's just their angina acting up. While the effort to decrease the amounts of these misdiagnoses is seemingly overwhelming, the day to day consciousness raising efforts can make a difference. National Associations, in various medical specialties, and certainly the American College of Cardiology are getting out the grass roots word about what to do to recognize the signs of cardiac events.
However, heart attacks are misdiagnosed by medical staff too. This is one of the important accomplishments of the medical society, the medical associations in various specialties have focused on ‘in service’ programs educating physicians, ancillary providers and staff on these signs. Heart attack is one of the top five diseases in terms of malpractice dollar awards. Despite how well known heart attacks are, they are still commonly misdiagnosed, particularly in the emergency room. The misdiagnosis of heart attack is particularly likely in less common presentations (e.g. without severe chest pain), or less expected populations (e.g. younger women having a heart attack). Malpractice awards for heart attack typically allege misdiagnosis or mismanaged diagnostic methods or medical tests. Because the outcome of a misdiagnosed heart attack is obviously poorer than a rapidly treated heart attack, the patient may suffer severe consequences. The dollar award for heart attack malpractice is thus typically high.
Diagnostic errors are the leading cause of loss in cardiology liability suits. Physicians could reduce loss by ruling out conditions carrying the greatest risk if misdiagnosed and by consulting with a radiologist concerning abnormal x-rays. Lack of documentation, poor physician communication, and adverse patient perception also lead to problems. According to the Closed Claims Study conducted by The Doctors’ Company, patient assessment errors contributed to 39 % of patient injuries. Ordering the proper diagnostic tests, changing diagnosis according to indications and using available clinical information in the record can provide the important keys to proper conclusions.
Cardiologists should be informed of all available options before selecting medical malpractice insurance so that they have the most ideal and comprehensive coverage. In the event of a claim, the medical liability insurance policy that covers your and your cardiology practice can make all the difference in the world.
It's no secret that cardiologists generally face high medical malpractice insurance premiums. Unfortunately, having adequate medical liability insurance coverage is imperative in light of the number of malpractice claims and lawsuits filed against cardiologists. That's why The Doctors Insurance Agency works with cardiologists nationwide, contacting the top insurance companies on their behalf, if they don’t fit in to our standard TDC insurance policy. In order to find the best combination of rates and coverage available, we have to have a well developed network of brokers and specialty carriers. Don't let one frivolous malpractice claim trump the countless hours and resources you have invested in your cardiology practice.
Our goal at The Doctors Insurance Agency is to match cardiologists with a medical liability policy that is specifically tailored to the unique needs of their practice. We work directly with the most trusted and reliable malpractice insurance company in the country and have experience serving cardiologists nationwide. We understand that cardiologists are busy, so we work to streamline the malpractice insurance purchase process so that it is less stressful and time-consuming for you. After a cardiologist completes the application, we expedite the application process by communicating with the insurance provider on his or her behalf. However, we understand that you should be informed of the progress of your application and update you accordingly.
For more information regarding cardiology medical malpractice insurance, contact us or fill out the form to receive customized cardiology medical malpractice insurance quote.