According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, Americans will experience a diagnostic error at least once during their lifetime. These errors will lead to potentially severe mental and physical consequences.
Until now, not much attention has been given to diagnostic errors, despite the increased risk of patient harm. A correct diagnosis requires a collaborative effort and health care team. Because of this reality, everyone from nurses to primary care doctors and specialists are involved.
Receiving a misdiagnosis can be expensive with regards to patient trauma, unnecessary medical procedures and missed chances for treatment. Misdiagnosis lawsuits can be costly to the healthcare system and were the number one payout cause in medical malpractice cases from 1986-2010.
Researchers estimate that the amount of misdiagnosis claims, involving permanent damage that was preventable, is up to 160,000 annually.
The experienced medical malpractice attorneys at O’Connor, Acciani & Levy may be able to help you if you have suffered due to a medical diagnostic error or other type of mistake. For more information, contact the law offices of O’Connor, Acciani and Levy immediately to discuss your legal options
Jennifer Lenoci-Edwards, nurse and Institute for Healthcare Improvement Director, has advice for patients. She says to listen to your intuition and speak up if you feel as if your questions were not answered since patients know their bodies well.
Disturbing Diagnostic Error Information
There may be a variety of causes for diagnostic errors, including a medical culture that does not promote honesty when errors happen, insufficient communication between patients and physicians as well as inaccurate feedback about the accuracy of diagnoses.
As an industry, healthcare has become more complex and diagnostic errors are increasing. There are ways to reduce diagnostic errors such as having patients get more involved in their diagnosis, using electronic health records that include doctors notations and testing results and promoting an environment where patients can give feedback about possible errors.