Wrong Diagnosis Continues to Threaten Patients’ Lives
In 1990, about 94,000 people (around the globe) died due to adverse effects of medical treatment; this number rose to 142,000 in 2013. In the US, the National Academy of Medicine, an American non-profit and non-governmental organization [called the Institute of Medicine (IOM) until June 30, 2015] says that, every year, medical error is to blame for the preventable death of 44,000 to 98,000 individuals, and the injuries sustained by 1,000,000 others.
Medical errors (or human errors) refer to adverse effects of care which are believed to be preventable; these errors can be the results of health-care providers’ wrongful execution of what actually are appropriate methods of care or the provision of inappropriate methods of care. The errors most frequently committed by doctors and hospitals include medication errors, surgery errors, anesthesia errors, childbirth injuries and misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis; these errors also happen to be the most common bases of medical malpractice lawsuits.
Misdiagnosis or wrong diagnosis, which claims a big percentage of medical malpractice complaints, has not only caused thousands of deaths in the past, but also continues to put so many lives in danger, especially the lives of those rushed in emergency departments.
Some of the actual cases of misdiagnosis committed in emergency departments include: a 9-year-old girl being diagnosed of simply experiencing stomach pains and then suffering from a ruptured appendix minutes after; a male teenager being sent home after having been given Tylenol for his fever and chills – he died shortly after, due to sepsis, a blood infection; and, a woman, aged 42, who complained of chest pains. Two hours after she was discharged, she suffered a heart attack.
Medical errors (particularly those that cause injury or death to patients) are usually results of medical malpractice, which may be defined as a health-care provider’s failure to provide patients with the accepted standard of treatment. The only probable reasons for this failure are incompetence or lack of skill and negligence.
A Georgetown medical malpractice attorney may tell you that, despite doctors’ high level of competence, many patients still become victims of wrong diagnosis and other types of medical malpractice.
The effects of wrong diagnosis, in particular, can lead to serious consequences for patients and their families. This is why all health-care providers must be able to accurately diagnose and treat patients’ health complaints. Failure to do so can lead to legal moves by the patients and/or their families, to seek compensation for all the damages they are made to suffer.