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Coverys report examines ER liability risks


Most emergency-room related liability claims involve a failure or delay in making a diagnosis, says a study issued Tuesday.

This includes the lack of an appropriate patient/family history and physical as well as an appropriate order of diagnostics. Diagnosis failure claims account for 56% of emergency department claims, according to a study by Boston-based medical liability insurer Coverys issued Tuesday, Emergency Department Risks: Through the Lens of Liability Claims.

The study is based on 1,362 closed medical claims between 2014 and 2018 with an emergency department location.

Diagnosis issues was followed by medical treatment, 20% of claims, medication-related claims, 9%, and surgery/procedure-related claims, 4%.

The top claim conditions that triggered claims were cardiovascular, accounting for 23%, followed by infection, 18%, according to the study.

Injuries from alleged malpractice in the emergency department are topped by death, accounting for 36% of claims, followed by significant permanent injury, 15%, and temporary minor and temporary major injury, at 12% each.

Clinical judgment was cited as a factor in 44% of emergency department claims, according to the report.

Emergency department claims are the fourth most common health care delivery location to trigger malpractice claims, accounting for 13% of claims. They follow surgery, which account for 28% of claims, physician’s office, 25%, and inpatient units, 17%.

Coverys found in a report issued in March that diagnostic errors were the leading type of claims against primary care physicians from 2013 through 2017.



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