A new study in Business Week reports than over half of pediatricians admit to making false diagnosis, missing diagnosis, or delaying diagnosis once or twice in the past month alone. Pediatric trainees are even more susceptible to error, with over 77 percent of them making diagnostic mistakes in the last thirty days.
Even more startling is that over half of those doctors admitted that their missed diagnosis or incorrect diagnosis resulted in direct harm to the patient. Because of that it should not be surprising that virtually one out of every three medical malpractice lawsuits stems from a doctor’s inaccurate or failed diagnosis.
These diagnostic errors have various causes, but the report indicated that the most common include a doctor’s failure to properly gather a patient’s medical or exam history, errors on medical charts, and failure to follow up on abnormal test results.
A member of the American Academy of Pediatrics committee on Quality Improvement and Management admitted that these diagnostic errors were “rampant in health care.” He went on to explain that our “systems in health care are set up in an antiquated way that allows for flaws to easily occur.” The sad reality is that life and death often hang in the balance of these medical decisions.
When patients and their families seek medical care they deserve to receive timely and accurate assessments of their condition from medical experts. However, as this report makes clear, all too frequently those patients are victims of diagnostic errors often having severe medical consequences.
To guard against these errors, be sure to contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you suspect that you or someone you know has been affected by a failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis, or wrong diagnosis. In Illinois, our Chicago medical malpractice attorneys at Levin & Perconti continue to deal with these errors in diagnoses. One of many successful battles was a record $14 million verdict against a doctor who ignored x-ray results leading to a delayed diagnosis of lung cancer.
To read more about the report on the prevalence of diagnostic errors, Click Here.