Medical Malpractice 101: Diagnosis Errors

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Medical Malpractice 101: Diagnosis Errors

Failure to Diagnose in MarylandYour doctor is responsible for all aspects of your healthcare; that’s why your medical records are so important. Your medical records have several functions, the most important of which is to serve as the official record of all examinations, diagnoses and treatments. In the event of a problem with your care, your records can indicate whether a treatment or diagnosis was medically necessary or performed properly.

Types of errors

Becoming a doctor requires years of study and training; as such, doctors are held to a professional level of accountability. There is no room for simple error when caring for another human being, and yet recent research has indicated that medical errors may be the third leading cause of the death in the United States. By the numbers, that means millions of Americans are affected by errors each year, and an estimated 250,000 are killed as a result of a healthcare professional’s error.

Diagnosis errors are a particular problem; the National Academy of Medicine reported that most Americans will be a victim of at least one meaningful diagnostic error in their lives. Diagnostic errors fall into three main categories, including:

  • Failure to diagnose: your doctor missed the connection between your reported symptoms and test results and a medical condition.
  • Misdiagnosis: when your doctor believes that you suffer a condition that fits most of your symptoms, sometimes despite the fact that another condition is a better fit.
  • Delayed diagnosis: the diagnosis is correct, but should have come much earlier.

According to VisualDx, a clinical decision support technology vendor, “Diagnostic delay and error can lead to patient harm. In fact, mortality data from autopsies showed that 35% to 40% of deaths were due to missed diagnoses. Research has confirmed that cognitive mistakes by physicians are the predominant cause of this error. Although most medical cases are ultimately correctly diagnosed and treated, errors leading to delay may result in poor quality of care, patient safety risks, increased costs, and, in some cases, malpractice litigation.

Medical errors happen every day. When they happen to you or your family, the consequences can be unimaginable. If you believe that you or your loved one has been the victim of medical negligence, the experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. can evaluate your case and help get you the compensation you deserve. Call 410.988.4449 or contact us today for a free consultation.

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