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Concern grows over death and disability from diagnostic mistakes

On Behalf of | Aug 9, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

When people in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC and across the nation seek medical help for an illness, condition or injury, they are functioning under the reasonable expectation that they will get an accurate diagnosis and be treated appropriately. However, medical errors happen all too often.

With the advancement in technology and medical training, there might be a belief that missteps are growing less frequent. Researchers say that is not the case. A recent study details the danger and people need to be aware of it if they think they or a loved one were harmed.

A significant number of people die or are disabled from diagnostic errors

The report from Johns Hopkins says that diagnostic mistakes lead to 424,000 people in the U.S. being disabled and 371,000 losing their lives annually. Often, common ailments for which people seek emergency treatment are most frequently misdiagnosed.

For example, with strokes, some symptoms are obvious such as slurred words and paralysis on one side of the body. Lesser known symptoms can result in physicians mistaking the symptoms for another ailment. If the person expresses that they are dizzy, this could be misinterpreted for something less serious and the underlying cause will not be addressed.

Other medical issues that are commonly misdiagnosed are lung cancer, blood clots, sepsis and pneumonia. All can result in serious health problems and even fatalities if they are not caught and treated in time. The leader of the research team that conducted the study said that most of the misdiagnoses happened during bedside assessment.

After a medical error, it is important to know the available options

People place their trust in physicians and other medical professionals to give them the help they need. When there are mistakes at any point during treatment, people can be severely harmed and even lose their lives.

It can be confusing for people and family members when their condition worsened after they sought medical care. It is imperative to look at the situation and determine if a medical error led to the poor outcome. Medical malpractice can be complex and people who believe they have been impacted by it need to understand what steps can be taken to hold physicians accountable.