Delivering The Help You Need

Misdiagnoses are common and could be fatal

On Behalf of | Jul 18, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

For some people, a visit to their Georgia doctor could prove deadly or leave them with serious harm. A recent study showed that misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses are shockingly common, and 33% result in permanent disabilities or death. A majority of these medical errors centered around three major medical conditions. Here’s what you should know.

Misdiagnoses can lead to death

Researchers from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine reviewed 55,000 medical malpractice cases reported in the database Comparative Benchmarking System. They found that each year, 12,000 people in the U.S. receive a misdiagnosis, and 33% of those result in serious injury or death. Researchers found that 74.1% of cases involving misdiagnosis resulting in death or catastrophic injuries occurred when people had one of three major conditions, including cancer, vascular issues, or severe infections.

Preventing diagnostic errors leading to harm

Doctors should collaborate with colleagues when they are unsure of a diagnosis and carefully review all lab reports. Most of the misdiagnoses happened in walk-in urgent clinics and emergency departments. Additional training should be provided in spotting the symptoms of these conditions to reduce the potential for error.

A few of the things doctors and hospitals should do to reduce diagnostic errors include the following:

  • Listen carefully to patients
  • Encourage patients to talk about their symptoms
  • Collaborate with a medical team
  • Follow up with patients

Patients can also take steps to reduce their chance of being misdiagnosed. If a patient feels something is wrong but is told they are fine by a doctor, they should seek a second opinion from a different doctor. Patients should be empowered to assume a bigger role in their care. They should ask questions and be unafraid to talk about the symptoms they are experiencing. If a doctor fails to listen to the concerns of a patient in the emergency department, the patient should seek out a different doctor to determine whether something is wrong. They should also reach out to the hospital to explain their concerns.