Improper diagnosis is a serious threat to patients in Connecticut and around the country. Although it is difficult to know the precise extent of the harm caused by misdiagnoses, authorities estimate that approximately one in 20 medical outpatients experience a incorrect diagnosis or other issues relating to a misperception of their health issues each year. These inaccurate diagnoses can lead to serious medical problems being left untreated or treated incorrectly. Diagnostic errors are estimated to ce a contributing factor in 10 percent of patient deaths.
Diagnostic errors are distinct from errors in treatment or practice, though mistaken diagnoses can easily lead to these. As it is more difficult to treat a health problem correctly without an accurate diagnosis, this can lead to serious physical problems or even death.
Misdiagnosed ailments account for the largest single percentage of malpractice suits. Research has shown that $38.8 billion dollars were paid out for malpractice penalties relating to incorrect diagnosis between 1986 and 2010. The Institute of Medicine issued a report in September 2015 that called for an increased focus on these types of errors.
Individuals who have encountered medical problems because of a misdiagnosis may see their conditions progressively worsen. This could result in a need for extended hospitalization and accompanying high medical expenses. People who are in this position may find it advisable to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to discuss their situations. The attorney can review the patient’s hospital records and obtain the opinion of a medical expert in order to determine whether negligence existed and if so, if a lawsuit should be filed against the responsible practitioners and facility.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Diagnostic Errors: A Professional and Public Health Imperative“, Jay Bhatt, Feb. 19, 2016