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How a Wrong Diagnosis Can Affect Everyone

Written by Berkowitz

Connecticut Medical Malpractice Attorneys - Berkowitz and Hanna LLCMost Americans will have a wrong diagnosis or delayed diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. Unfortunately, the majority of those that do face wrongful diagnosis and delayed diagnosis situations often go through devastating effects.

Misdiagnosis is a growing problem in the United States and the lack of a coherent medical system seems to keep the number of cases under the radar. According to a new report released by the National Academy of Medicine, the number of unreported cases is likely to be astounding.

The Academy has offered a solution, which involves getting pathologists and radiologists actively involved in the diagnostic process. They are also calling for changes to medical malpractice laws, so professionals can own up to mistakes, take new cultures and correct their issues.

According to the report, the Academy found that:

  • Five percent of the United States outpatient adults experience diagnostic errors.
  • Postmortem examinations have suggested that diagnostic errors now contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths.
  • Medical records uncovered that diagnostic errors account for six to 17 percent of the adverse events taking place in hospitals.

The report has called for stricter, more unified guidelines as well – including better training. Hospitals, organizations and healthcare systems should have approaches that identify, learn from and reduce these errors as well as near misses in their practice. The report highlights that hospitals and doctors should be able to admit to their mistakes so that they can learn from them as well as teach others how to avoid similar mistakes in the future.

How a Wrong Diagnosis Impacts Everyone

A wrong diagnosis affects the patient, but it equally impacts their loved ones. Those that can tell their loved one is suffering or sick often are turned away by physicians who dismiss their concerns. These same individuals are then forced to seek additional medical care where they can also be turned away. The pain and suffering can be felt throughout an entire family.

But, it is not just the families suffering – it is all patients and the medical community. Patients lose faith in medical professionals when misdiagnosis issues arise, and some physicians can lose their credibility – which filters down and affects other physicians in the same office regardless of competency.

It Is Not Just About Holding Doctors Accountable – It Is About Teaching

When a patient is harmed by a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, it is not just about holding the physician or medical professional accountable – it is also about teaching others in that field to avoid similar behaviors and highlight their errors so that a similar mistake is not seen again in the future.
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