As many as 1 in every 20 patients – or approximately 12 million patients every year – is misdiagnosed in the U.S., a recent study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has reported. This study, which was headed by Dr. Hardeep Singh at the Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness and Safety, focused on analyzing data collected from three previous studies. In addition to looking at misdiagnoses in primary care settings, researchers also reviewed data from emergency room visits.
Among some of the specific findings reported in this study were that:
- About 5 percent of all cases of the misdiagnoses found by researchers involved errors in which the original diagnosis was wrong but, with the information available during that initial evaluation, a proper diagnosis could have been made by doctors.
- While some of the cases of these diagnostic errors only involve minor mistakes that don’t really end up harming patients, as many as 6 million (or half) of these patients have the potential to be seriously injured as a result of doctors’ misdiagnoses.
Many believe that these estimates are conservative, as some medical researchers have pointed out that many cases of diagnostic errors go unreported (because, for example, patients may simply switch doctors mid-treatment so the first doctor is unaware that a misdiagnosis has occurred).
Reasons for Such Frequent Misdiagnoses, According to Researchers
Reasons for the high incidence of misdiagnoses abound, researchers say. Specifically, researchers pointed to the following as some of the most common reasons that diagnostic errors occur so frequently in U.S. medical facilities:
- The limited time that doctors have with patients (particularly those with complex symptoms and/or multiple conditions simultaneously)
- The chaotic nature of the environment in outpatient settings
- A lack of support and technical help that could be pivotal in facilitating the diagnostic process.
Regardless of why diagnostic errors occur, the fact remains that, when these errors result in serious injuries to patients, doctors can be on the hook for compensating patients for their injuries and losses.
Mount Vernon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at the Law Firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C.
Have you or a loved one been misdiagnosed at the hands of a medical professional? Or have you been injured after any mistake or error made by a doctor or nurse? If so, you can turn to the experienced Mount Vernon personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Hassakis & Hassakis, P.C. for getting the compensation you likely deserve. Since 1950, our attorneys have been providing client-centered representation to injured people and working relentlessly to help them get the highest possible settlements for their losses and injuries.
We take pride in tailoring our legal representation to specifically meet our clients’ needs and in expertly guiding them through each stage of the complex the legal process. While our attorneys are aggressive and effective litigators both inside and outside of the courtroom, we are also counselors that can provide our clients with helpful legal advice regarding their best options.
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If you have been misdiagnosed or believe that you may have any type of medical malpractice claim, contact us by calling (888) 896-9381 or by emailing us using the form at the upper right-hand side of the page. We can provide you with a free, thorough assessment of your case, along with professional advice regarding the best manner in which to move forward.