Quality care is not just a slogan. It is a matter of life and death. You rely on your doctors and medical professionals to keep you healthy, tell you why you are sick and to make you well again. The consequences can be grave when they misdiagnose or fail to recognize your symptoms.
The National Academy of Medicine in 2015 declared missed, delayed or wrongly diagnosed conditions a crisis that “represents a moral, professional and public health imperative.” Misdiagnoses are the leading cause of medical errors. They affect more than 12 million Americans each year. Between 40,000 and 80,000 people die annually from diagnostic failures in U.S. hospitals.
The Big Three
Last year, a team of medical safety experts at Johns Hopkins Medicine reported cancer (37.8%), vascular events (22.8%) and infections (13.5%) accounted for three-quarters of all misdiagnoses. Researchers also said more than 71% of diagnostic errors occurred in emergency rooms or outpatient clinics, mostly because of clinical mistakes.
The team recommended that health care systems improve decision making and interventions by:
- Increasing computerized diagnostic tools
- Offering immediate access to specialists
- Engaging patients more
- Giving more performance feedback to clinicians
- Improving simulated training
Misdiagnoses are inevitable with over 10,000 known diseases and more symptoms associated with them. Because the most serious harm only comes from a handful of conditions, it should be easier to target and reduce critical errors. If those lapses were medical malpractice, someone should pay.
Were you misdiagnosed?
The doctor-patient relationship can be sacred, developed over years of personal contact and sharing. However, when doctors and hospitals break that trust, you or your loved ones suffer.
Failed diagnoses can have profound consequences. Disabling diseases can worsen conditions. Unnecessary treatments and expensive emergency visits can cause more pain and suffering – even premature death. You deserve answers for failed or delayed diagnoses and to hold accountable those responsible.
You could be compensated for damages if those errors add up to malpractice.