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Diagnostic errors are a real and serious problem

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Nov 30, 2016 4:41:26 PM

Millions of New Yorkers seek medical assistance every year, and they do so with the assumption that they will receive effective treatment. This is not always the case, however. There is the possibility that a diagnosis error may occur. In fact, recent studies have shown that the problem may be more prevalent than many people think.

Johns Hopkins Medicine recently studied medical malpractice payouts to examine incorrect, missed and late diagnosis issues. Researchers found that the previous data related to diagnostic errors may not have been accurate. This is because the information was collected from cadavers only and not survivors who suffered severe injury. Through the research, Johns Hopkins shows how the number of fatalities resulting from diagnosis mistakes is very similar to the number of victims who experience permanent disability. This insinuates that older statistics may not have included many of the diagnostic errors that occurred.

Also, the study reveals that missed diagnoses are more common than those that are incorrect or late. Overall, scientists uncovered that diagnostic errors may be the largest threat to patient safety. Evidence of this may lie in the fact that nearly $40 billion was paid out in malpractice settlements during the period between 1986 and 2010.

Another examination into malpractice claims provides examples of the types of diagnostic mistakes being made. A study reviewed by Live Science shows the most common errors that occur. This includes prescription medication mistakes and missing child meningitis, heart attack and cancer diagnoses. In fact, negligence in identifying disease is the top reason that patients sue their physicians. By understanding the magnitude of diagnostic oversight, medical professionals may be able to better recognize their weaknesses, formulate impactful plans of action, and prevent unnecessary expense and devastation.

Topics: Medical Malpractice

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