In the medical field, a diagnosis is built on the study of a patient’s symptoms, and could lead to any number of treatment options, decisions, and results. A misdiagnosis, even in the early stages, can be a setback for both doctor and patient, and can sometimes even lead to a loss of trust or confidence, and potentially even have negative medical effects. Medical malpractice defense law firms in Florida, Georgia, New York and New Jersey report that over the last few years, almost 12 million patients have been misdiagnosed by their doctor, nurse, or another medical professional.
According to a population-based estimate, a study done in U.S. hospitals and private practices reveals that at least 1 in 20 adults across the country who are receiving outpatient care have been misdiagnosed. Hardeep Singh, MD, MPH, from the Houston Veterans Affairs Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety, and his colleagues compiled the paper in hopes that their study would prompt a closer look into misdiagnoses and how to avoid them and reduce medical errors. The results of Dr. Singh’s study were published online last month in BMJ Quality and Safety.
In their study, the doctors used electronic triggers to detect patients who returned to their doctor unexpectedly, after receiving an initial diagnosis. The team also tracked the lack of follow-up visits and appointments by patients whose symptoms should have pointed to colorectal cancer or other troubling illnesses. In the third study, the team analyzed consecutive cases of lung cancer, in which they used the presence of an abnormal chest X-ray as the red flag. In each study, a diagnostic error was confirmed by reviewing the doctor’s charts and notes. Dr. Singh estimated that the average diagnostic error was 5.06 percent in the primary care study, 0.007 percent in the colorectal cancer study, and 0.013 percent for the lung cancer study. Based on the evidence, Dr. Singh and his coauthors wrote that they “estimated ... about one-half of errors would have the potential to lead to severe harm.”
At Lubell Rosen, a leading medical malpractice defense law firm in Florida, Georgia, New York and New Jersey, our attorneys urge doctors and nurses to take every precaution possible, for their own protection. A malpractice lawsuit, even one that does not end in court, can be damaging to your professional reputation and your career, as well as your personal life. If you are facing a lawsuit in which the plaintiff has suffered serious injuries, or even death, your skills could be called into question, and a thorough investigation could reach into the full history of your medical career, often with a more critical and accusatory eye. These investigations may find information that could be further used against you.
Our medical malpractice defense attorneys represent professionals in Florida, Georgia, New York and New Jersey who have landed in court due to a misdiagnosis or other medical error. We offer full consultation, legal advice and representation, and support in your time of need. If you have been named in a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact an attorney at Lubell Rosen to discuss your options today.