Not every case of misdiagnosis warrants a claim of negligence against a doctor. There can be many reasons why a condition might be missed, even by a medical professional with extensive training.
But instances of a failure to diagnose because of negligence or carelessness do occur. It’s important in such instances to know that there may well be legal remedies available for victims in Kansas City seeking just compensation and accountability. Learning what they may be requires speaking with an attorney.
Just how often diagnostic errors do occur is something that a group of researchers out of Texas decided to get a handle on with a recent study. Their findings are due to be published this month in a British medical journal and we suspect they may raise some readers’ eyebrows.
By the authors’ estimate, about 12 million adult Americans who turn to doctors in offices and other outpatient settings every year walk away with an incorrect diagnosis. And in about half of those instances, the researchers believe the mistakes could result in the patient suffering serious harm.
To come to their conclusions, researchers pored over some 3,000 medical records from three previous studies and found a diagnosis error rate of just over 5 percent. By applying that number to the numbers of known doctor visits by U.S. adults, they come to a misdiagnosis rate of 12 million.
Lead author, Dr. Hardeep Singh, makes the point that these numbers involve the more common clinic visits, rather than hospital interactions. He says that because most patient safety improvement efforts focus on inpatient hospital care, the results represent a huge vulnerability in the health care system that needs to be addressed.
Singh says his hope is that by providing these numbers it will broaden discussions about patient safety that are already underway.
Source: Reuters.com, “About 12 million U.S. outpatients misdiagnosed annually: study,” Curtis Skinner, April 17, 2014