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Misdiagnosis Becoming a Huge Problem in the Medical Field

Posted on Jun 07, 2013

A recent article from the Hartford Courant touched on the topic of medical malpractice and how misdiagnosis is becoming a huge problem. The article notes that diagnoses that are missed, incorrect, or delayed are believed to affect 10 to 20 percent of cases, far exceeding drug errors and surgery on the wrong patient or body part, both of which have received considerably more attention. 

The Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality funded a report in 2009 that discovered 28 percent of 583 diagnostic mistakes reported anonymously by doctors were life threatening or had resulted in death or permanent disability. A new study of 190 errors at a VA hospital system in Texas found that many errors involved common diseases such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections; 87 percent had the potential for "considerable to severe harm," including "inevitable death." 

David Newman-Toker, an associate professor of neurology and otolaryngology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, studies diagnostic errors and said misdiagnosis "happens all the time." "This is an enormous problem, the hidden part of the iceberg of medical errors that dwarfs other kinds of mistakes," he said. In studies, it has been repeatedly found that diagnostic errors typically result from flawed ways of thinking, sometimes coupled with negligence, and not because a disease is rare or exotic. Primary-care settings are the most common for diagnostic errors. 

If you think you've been the victim of medical malpractice, call Girards Law today for a free consultation at 888-897-2762

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