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Medical Diagnostic Errors Are Not as Uncommon as You May Think

  Alan Fuchsberg  |  April 14, 2016  |  

Even good doctors can make mistakes. All the many advances in medicine over the years can’t change the fact that human error happens. Diagnostic errors are some of the most common issues patients face today.  A mistaken diagnosis, or the failure to diagnose an illness or condition, can lead to serious medical problems going untreated.

How Many People Experience Diagnostic Errors?

According to some studies, as many as 15 percent of medical problems start out being misdiagnosed.  Every year, about 160,000 hospitalized patients die or suffer injuries because of a wrong diagnosis, completely missed a diagnosis or late diagnosis. For some patients, time is of the essence. For example, if you have cancer that is not diagnosed, it may never be treated and become terminal. If you are diagnosed later rather than sooner, a once-treatable condition may become life-threatening.

What Are the Most Common Incorrectly Diagnosed Conditions?

Most commonly, these conditions involve a missed or incorrect diagnosis:

  • urinary tract infections,
  • congestive heart failure,
  • cancer,
  • renal failure, and
  • pneumonia.

Obviously, patients with any of these conditions will get worse or even die if their condition is not diagnosed early or, in some cases, at all.

Where Are Diagnostic Errors Most Likely to be Made?

It’s more common to have a diagnostic mistake made in a doctor’s office than at the hospital.  However, both locations can result in the same situation. Generally, diagnostic mistakes made in hospitals are much more dangerous to patients, because those patients are more likely to already be sick or dangerously ill.

What to Do if You or a Family Member Experiences a Diagnostic Error?

Our New York medical malpractice attorneys have experience in representing clients who have experienced a wide range of different kinds of doctor and diagnostic errors.  Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your or your loved one’s circumstances.

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