What is the Most Common Medical Mistake?
Reports released by British Medical Journal and other publications suggest medical errors have becoming a leading cause of death in the United States. Medical errors can happen for various reasons, but some mistakes are more common than others. Diagnostic errors are the most common medical mistake.
According to a study published in the medical journal BMJ Quality & Safety, 12 million adult patients are misdiagnosed every year. This amounts to 1 in 20 adult patients seen by doctors across the country. Additional statistics uncovered by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that 28 percent of diagnostic errors resulted in death or permanent disability.
Patients who are misdiagnosed can have their quality of life plummet. The Washington Post interviewed a former cancer patient who described how his misdiagnosis robbed him of the ability to speak. According to the man, doctors diagnosed his reoccurring throat pain with acid reflux disease. His doctors were wrong. A second opinion from another doctor confirmed the presence of a peach pit-sized tumor. Unfortunately, the tumor had grown for months, and the man was forced to have his voice box removed.
Why Do Diagnostic Errors Happen?
Diagnostic errors can happen for several reasons. For example, doctors may miss symptoms, or misinterpret test result results. This can cause doctors to miss a diagnosis or to misdiagnose patients with the wrong illnesses. Doctors can also make the correct diagnosis, but ignore complications that can make illnesses worse. These are just a few examples of how these mistakes happen, and is by no means an exhaustive list.
For patients with heart disease, cancer or other serious illnesses, misdiagnosis can have permanent or fatal consequences. Patients or their families can contact an attorney to explore options for holding health care practitioners or hospitals accountable for mistakes.
The Florida medical malpractice lawyers at Shapiro Law Group have decades of experience helping families who have been harmed by medical malpractice.