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Retinal detachment, though common, is often misdiagnosed

| Oct 21, 2020 | Firm News

The Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company has reviewed some 1,613 ophthalmic malpractice claims that were closed or resolved between 2008 and 2014, and it has found that retinal detachment was behind a surprising number of these claims. Indiana residents should know that RD is a relatively common condition that any well-trained ophthalmologist can detect.

Specifically, the study found that 14% (223 claims) involved an allegation of a diagnostic error and that, of these, 38% (84 claims) involved the retina. Sixty-five claims involved RD. This made it the most frequently misdiagnosed ophthalmic condition during the entire study period.

Who runs the risk for RD

RD, where the retina at the back of the eye detaches from its blood vessels, can arise because of a natural change called posterior vitreous detachment. Lattice degeneration, where the retina thins over time, raises the risk for RD. Myopia is another risk factor with over half of RD patients having it. It can occur as a result of cataract surgery or because of genetics.

Inattention a major factor in misdiagnoses

As for why ophthalmologists are missing this common condition, one reason has to do with their workload causing them to make mistakes. An ophthalmologist may be taking calls, answering texts and interacting with staff members while trying to diagnose. This is where proper staff etiquette and patient education come in handy.

Legal representation for malpractice victims

Patients may monitor their symptoms and do whatever else is in their power and still become the victims of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Under medical malpractice law, though, they could seek out compensation for their losses if it’s clear that the other side was negligent. A lawyer may be able to tell you how much you could strive for out of court, and he or she may even negotiate for you while you focus on recovering.