The Cook & Tolley Blog

Diagnostic error tied to many retinal detachments

A retinal detachment can cause permanent blindness in one eye and lead to a loss of work opportunities as well as a reduction in quality of life. Georgia eye doctors and others might make errors, at times, that result in a diagnostic error that does not detect a potential for a detached retina in the patient. A recent increase in legal filings caused by diagnostic errors leading to retinal detachments spurred the Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company to take a closer look.

Study affirms significant diagnostic problem

The insurer found 223 of 1,613 medical malpractice claims studied involved diagnostic errors. About 38% of those claimed errors related to the retina while 29 percent were from retinal detachments in patients. The study found diagnostic errors by far were the leading cause of retinal detachments but did not account for a majority of claims. Eye disease and injuries are among many other common causes, but misdiagnosis is the most prolific and tied directly to quality of medical care provided.

Early diagnosis critical in stopping retinal detachment

The issue with diagnostic errors is particularly troubling since early detection is the best way to prevent a retinal detachment. A big part of the problem is a large number of clinicians involved in a retinal detachment diagnosis and the high potential for error that results. When just one member of a team of highly educated and trained clinicians makes a seemingly small error, it can magnify into a misdiagnosis and an eventual retinal detachment.

Error potential affirms need for legal help

With diagnostic errors being the leading cause of retinal detachment and related loss of vision, the matter truly is serious. Potentially, thousands of patients across the nation might lose vision in one eye due to a clinical error made by someone the patient never met. The loss of vision is a truly devastating thing. A Cook & Tolley attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice claims can review your case and give you the best chance at a positive outcome.

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