MEDICAL DIAGNOSTIC ERROR ATTORNEY
Have You Been Misdiagnosed By Your Doctor? You May Be Eligible for a Malpractice Claim
Medical diagnostic errors are the leading cause of malpractice lawsuits occurring in outpatient care as well as inpatient care in the United States. Diagnostic error means that a diagnosis has been wronged for a patient resulting in the highest medical penalty payouts in the medical field. Some medical diagnostic errors have slight consequences for the patient, while others may be lethal.
For a better understanding of medical diagnostic errors, an example may be a patient visits a hospital experiencing chest pain. After several return visits, the medical staff missed that the chest pain was a result of compression on the spinal cord. The result? The patient became a paraplegic. Diagnostic errors occur at least once in the lifetime of nearly everyone. Although not always severe, research shows that nearly 18 percent of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from medical diagnostic error.
Types of Medical Diagnostic Errors
Diagnostic mistakes come in many shapes and sizes. Physicians and medical professionals may be responsible for diagnostic errors that fall in to 3 general areas. Delayed diagnosis may occur when a patient is diagnosed correctly, but treated in an untimely manner resulting in harm to the patient. A missed diagnosis occurs when a diagnosis was never made. Wrong diagnosis is the 3rd general type of error and this occurs when a false diagnosis is made prior to the correct diagnosis, also resulting in harm to the patient. Most patients who have seen a physician in their lifetime experience at least one of these errors; causing possible distress, cost, inconvenience and health hazards to the patient. Missed or delayed diagnoses (particularly with cancer) are the leading reason for malpractice claims.
Diagnostic errors are also made when a doctor makes decisions based on results from tests that are inaccurate or contaminated. Faulty medical equipment and human error are very common causes for misdiagnosis. Many areas exist where misdiagnosis may easily occur.
How Does Medical Diagnostic Error Affect the Patient?
Patients are at risk of misdiagnosis with every visit to a physician or medical professional. The highest risk of diagnostic error occurs in the emergency room where time is under pressure. Common examples of conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed in an emergency room include heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, and meningitis; all of which may lead to serious consequences for the patient. According to research, about 80,000 to 160,000 patients suffer permanent disabilities (including permanent injury and death) from misdiagnosis every year. More than 1000 people die each day due to preventable medical errors!
Patients often have a case for a malpractice claim for diagnostic error. Patients who are harmed as a result of diagnostic errors must be able to show that the doctors or medical staff acted negligently. In other words, the patient must be able to prove that if the doctor had acted in a more professional manner, the patient would now be healthier or would be facing a better medical outcome.
When a physician opens their practice doors, patients assume that the doctor is competent to perform medical diagnoses and interpret tests. If the doctor fails to do so, the patient may have a claim. A malpractice lawyer may review the actions and diagnosis made by a physician and help to decide if there is evidence of negligence.
Have You Experienced a Misdiagnosis?
A Few Examples of Frequently Missed Diagnosis include:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Sever Heartburn
- Failure to order necessary testing
- Pulmonary embolism
- Congestive heart failure
Medical Diagnostic Error & The Physician
What can be done to reduce the extreme number of diagnostic errors? The errors occur for a number of reasons and there is not a one size fits all solution. Some solutions describe strengthening the lines of communication between the patient, physician and medical staff. Other solutions involve health IT. Technology in the health field, such as electronic health records (EHR), should be selected with proper input from frontline providers. Another possible solution is to develop a reporting system to better track diagnostic errors, decreasing the chances to make the same mistakes. The medical field is well aware of the growing problem of misdiagnosis and it is up to the medical professionals to find the best solution that works for them.
Do You Have a Case?
If you feel you or a loved one have experienced medical diagnostic errors, it is important to act quickly. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is surprisingly short, so it is critical that you speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The medical malpractice attorneys at David & Philpot, P.L., have recovered millions of dollars for victims who have been misdiagnosed or suffered damages due to other medical mistakes. Contact them today at 800.360.7015 for a free, no obligation consultation.