A new report released by the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences, raises a red flag to medical misdiagnosis. The independent panel of medical experts who authored the report concluded that diagnostic errors are a leading culprit in medical mistakes, outpacing medication or surgical errors. The report also estimates that most Americans will receive a misdiagnosis at some point in their lives.
One of the most notable conclusions of the report is that medical mistakes involving a misdiagnosis may only come to light after-the-fact. The report noted that there is no uniform system in American healthcare for informing doctors when they have made a misdiagnosis. Consequently, a doctor might never find out about his or her misdiagnosis even after the patient has obtained a second or subsequent diagnosis that rights the earlier mistake. In fact, the article observed that medical malpractice lawsuits play an important role in exposing diagnostic errors.
Of course, a correct medical diagnosis still requires some judgment. In one example, a woman who reported to the emergency room with heart attack symptoms was released because her tests were normal. However, two weeks later she had to return because of a clogged artery. Despite the advances of modern medicine, tests cannot be a complete substitute for the art of making a correct diagnostic judgment based on available information.
If you believe you have been injured because of a misdiagnosis, our law firm can help investigate your case. Even if your doctor eventually arrived at the correct diagnosis, an unreasonable delay might have worsened your symptoms or defeated your chance of recovery, as in the diagnosis of cancer. A doctor might attempt to cite other causes, which is why it may require the experience of an attorney to gather evidence proving the medical errors that led to the failure to correctly diagnose a patient’s condition. Check out our firm’s website to learn more about how we approach a medical misdiagnosis claim.