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Rate of diagnostic errors for “Big Three” conditions

| May 21, 2020 | Firm News |

You go to the doctor because you are ill or injured. While you may not be elated about the visit, you are secure with your decision to seek medical attention because you place much trust in your health care practitioners. But doctors are just like you and me, they are humans that are also subject to human errors. Mistakes could be made in the diagnosis process, which could be the result of you receiving no diagnosis, the wrong diagnosis or the wrong treatment plan.

When medical errors occur, patients could suffer tremendously. As a new research study uncovered, roughly 1 in 10 patients that seek medical attention for symptoms caused by a major vascular event, infection or cancer are misdiagnosed. These categories are referred to as the “Big Three” in the study, and researchers looked at the top five conditions in each of these categories to explore this issue further.

For vascular events, this included stroke, myocardial infarction, venous thromboembolism, aortic aneurysm and arterial thromboembolism. For infections, this included sepsis, meningitis, spinal abscess, pneumonia and endocarditis. Finally, for cancer, this included lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and melanoma.

When looking at the top 15 conditions misdiagnosed, it was discovered that over half of those misdiagnosed suffered permanent disability or death due to a diagnostic error. Furthermore, it was found that across all “Big Three” conditions misdiagnosed, roughly half of these errors caused serious harms.

Delayed and inaccurate diagnoses caused serious threats to the health and safety of patients. When it comes to these “Big Three” categories, a proper diagnosis and prompt medical intervention or treatment is likely necessary. Thus, when a medical professional fails to timely or properly diagnose a patient that is displaying symptoms related to a “Big Three” condition, it could mean life or death.

While suffering serious harms because of a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis could very well alter your life, it is important to understand your legal rights and options. A medical malpractice action could help you in many ways. It could assist with holding a negligent medical professional accountable for the medical errors and harms caused by them. Additionally, you could recover damages for the losses caused by the medical errors.

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Sarah Hay Knight

Richard Hay