Medical Misdiagnosis Research
Medical misdiagnosis can happen for a variety of reasons. Research from Johns Hopkins suggests more than 795,000 patients in the United States each year die or become permanently disabled as a result of medical misdiagnosis.
To break it down, the study found 371,000 patients die and 424,000 suffer a permanent disability after being diagnosed with the wrong condition. The study also found misdiagnosis happens in almost any healthcare setting – this isn’t just at the family doctor or the ER.
Reasons For Medical Misdiagnosis
A medical misdiagnosis can happen for any number of reasons.
- miscommunication between medical providers
- lab error
- diagnostic error
It is common for medical professionals to misdiagnose when symptoms match a different condition. The study found heart attacks are rarely mistaken for anything else. Only 1.5% of patients who suffered a heart attack are misdiagnosed. But, at the higher end of the spectrum, over 60% of spinal abscesses receive an incorrect diagnosis. Strokes were misdiagnosed about 17% of the time.
Most Common Misdiagnosis
5 medical issues account for 40% of misdiagnoses that lead to disability and death. The 5 most common misdiagnosed medical issues:
- blood clots
- lung cancer
Reducing these misdiagnosis cases by 50% would help 150,000 patients each year. With better training and diagnostic standards, the research is hopeful that medical professionals can get better at properly diagnosing these medical issues.
Is Misdiagnosis Malpractice?
Is every misdiagnosis grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit? The short answer is no. Medical malpractice claims must meet specific criteria in the state of Pennsylvania.
Yet, there are situations when a misdiagnosis IS medical malpractice. This happens when a doctor in the same field would have made a correct diagnosis AND there is a direct injury resulting from the misdiagnosis. This is something we often see in cancer or stroke misdiagnosis cases. Typically, the misdiagnosis causes a delay in treatment that leads to irreparable harm or death. Learn more in this example of breast cancer misdiagnosis.
Hurdles To Proving Medical Malpractice
Misdiagnosis alone is not proof of medical malpractice in Pennsylvania. A patient must be able to prove their care wasn’t according to standards and it resulted in physical harm. Even if a patient is able to prove the care deviated from medical standards and resulted in an injury, there are often additional hurdles.
When To Contact A Medical Malpractice Attorney
Thank you for taking the time to read our article about this medical misdiagnosis research. If you have suffered as a result of medical misdiagnosis, talk to an experienced attorney for advice.
A medical malpractice attorney at Kane & Silverman can help you understand how the law applies to your situation. Contact us for a free medical malpractice consultation.