Every year in the United States, patients are misdiagnosed or undergo a delayed diagnosis for conditions they should have been treated for in a timely manner. According to The Doctors Company’s study of 332 emergency medicine claims, diagnostic-related issues are the main reason that emergency medicine doctors are sued – and they are also the top cause of patient injury. A diagnostic error could lead to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, which could lead to the patient’s condition being made worse or even killing them.
The Doctors Company’s Study
Allegations were analyzed from patients in 332 closed emergency medicine claims. 57% of allegations were diagnosis related, 13% were improper management of treatment, 5% were improper performance of a treatment or procedure, and 3% were failure to order medication. At an astounding 57%, diagnoses-related accidents are something to be extremely aware of. They can pose many issues for many patients, and can sometimes be prevented.
Different Types of Diagnostic Mistakes
- Wrong Diagnosis: This is a term that is also known as a misdiagnosis. This is when the doctor picks the wrong illness, such as in a case where a doctor might diagnose cancer, only for the patient not to have cancer.
- Missed Diagnosis: This is when the doctor gives the patient good news about not having an illness, when they actually do.
- Delayed Diagnosis: This is when the doctor makes the correct diagnosis, but only after a period of time has gone on.
- Failure to Recognize Complications: This is when the right diagnosis has been made, but complications that could change the illness are not identified.
- Failure to Diagnose a Related Disease: This is when the doctor correctly diagnoses one disease, but fails to diagnose a disease that is related to it. This is a type of disease that goes hand-in-hand with the primary condition.
- Failure to Diagnose an Unrelated Disease: This is when the doctor correctly diagnoses one disease, but fails to diagnose a completely unrelated second disease.
Was Negligence Involved With the Misdiagnosis?
Just because you have received a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, this doesn’t mean that there is evidence of negligence by the doctor. This is where “differential diagnosis” comes into play. This is a process that can identify a disease or a condition in a patient. It includes extensive observation of the patient, probabilities involved with the diagnosis, and an evaluation of things like a complete medical history and ordered tests. Usually, only one diagnosis will result in the end. A patient must prove that a doctor under similar circumstances would not have made a misdiagnosis for a medical malpractice case to stem from negligence.
Does Misdiagnosis Happen in the Emergency Room?
Misdiagnosis actually occurs more often in emergency room settings due to increased time pressure and the severe nature of many illnesses seen in this setting. Conditions that are uncommon in certain patients are less likely to be diagnosed correctly. Many common misdiagnoses include heart attack, stoke, pulmonary embolism, and meningitis.
Do you believe that you have received a misdiagnosis and that it caused you injuries? Did a doctor delay in your diagnosis and you ended up becoming more ill due to it? You may want to speak with an experienced attorney about your case. Medical malpractice cases are regulated by extremely complex rules and these rules can vary from state to state. Call WTW in California today to schedule a consultation. They will work to provide you with the compensation that you deserve!