Diagnostic Errors Affect Nearly All Americans

Diagnostic Errors Affect Nearly All Americans

An NBC News story reveals that a new report issued by the National Academy of Medicine has found that most Americans will receive either a wrong or late diagnosis at some point in their lifetimes. The study's author made a startling conclusion – "Everyone will experience one meaningful diagnostic error in their lifetime." Many times, the result is devastating. The study evaluated the rate of occurrence of misdiagnoses and delays in diagnoses in an effort to reduce the incidence of medical malpractice. The study's author believes that one solution may be to get pathologists and radiologists more actively involved in a patient's diagnosis – thus eliminating some of the critical errors that occur at the early stages of diagnosis.

According to the report:

· At least 5 percent of U.S. adults who seek outpatient care each year experience a diagnostic error.

· Postmortem exams suggest diagnostic errors contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths.

· Medical records suggest diagnostic errors account for 6 to 17 percent of adverse events in hospitals.

Missed or failed diagnoses happen in a variety of different settings. For example – a missed diagnosis a cancer at an early stage may decrease the chances of a meaningful recovery. Or, the delay in diagnosing newborn jaundice may lead to the development of kernicterus, the brain damage caused by bilirubin, and ultimately result in a serious, and permanent, disability.

In addition to calling for greater involvement by specialists in the diagnosis process, the report also calls for hospitals, healthcare systems, organizations and others to create guidelined that help others learn from and reduce diagnostic errors and near misses in clinical practice.

For more information or if you believe that you or a loved one has been harmed by an erroneous or missed diagnosis, please contact the dedicated San Diego medical malpractice lawyers at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.

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