The Journal of Patient Safety found at least 210,000 deaths per year occurred from preventable harm in hospitals. However, this number does not include incidents of medical errors, misdiagnosis, or failure to diagnose. These often go unreported in order to avoid liability. Medical malpractice deaths are made all the more tragic because they could have been prevented.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions
Misdiagnosis happens with many conditions. However, misdiagnosis occurs with some conditions more often than others. These include:
- Cancer – One of the worst diagnoses a patient receives, cancer is a progressive disease. This means it may take weeks to months to spread throughout the body. When caught early, treatments provide better outcomes for patients. If there is a delay in diagnosis or failure to diagnose, cancer can spread throughout the body with devastating consequences.
- Infections – Infectious disease can spread throughout a hospital with a single touch. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimated, “on any given day, about 1 in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection.” The most common include pneumonia and surgical site infections. Additionally, gastrointestinal infections, urinary tract infections, and primary blood stream infections occur often.
- Meningitis – Bacterial meningitis is very serious.The disease spreads by close contact with someone who has the infection. At first, the disease presents as a simple fever, but progresses rapidly within a matter of hours. Patients with bacterial meningitis require aggressive intravenous drugs.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions Requiring Emergency Medical Treatment
- Stroke – An interruption in the blood supply to the brain causes patients to suffer a stroke. Patients need immediate emergency medical care to minimize the damage and ensure the best chance of recovery. Strokes are one of the most commonly misdiagnosed neurological conditions.
- Heart attack – When patients experience interruption of the blood flow to the heart, they face serious injury or even death. Patients must go to an ER, receive a diagnosis of a, and receive immediate treatment for a good patient outcome. Any delay or failure to diagnose greatly increases the likelihood of serious organ damage or even death.
- Blood clot – Blood clots that form inside the body can pose a serious health risk. If and when they dislodge, clots can cause serious damage to the lungs, heart, brain and more.
An Institute of Medicine report contends that most Americans will experience at least one medical diagnostic error in their lifetime. These errors can occur for a variety of reasons, including doctor distraction and inattentiveness to the patient or failing to perform the appropriate diagnostic testing.
Regardless of the cause, if you or someone you love has been a victim of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose in Pennsylvania, contact Lopez McHugh LLP as soon as possible for a confidential and free consultation. Our attorneys can answer your questions about misdiagnosis claims and explain your legal rights.