Misdiagnosis occurs more often than some may think

Medical misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a patient is a serious problem in emergency rooms and outpatient clinics.

When people visit an outpatient clinic or an emergency room in Michigan, they most likely feel as though they are in the capable hands of qualified and knowledgeable medical professionals. People expect to leave the clinic with an accurate diagnosis of an illness they are suffering from and/or a treatment plan that will help them recover. What some people may not realize, however, is that doctors in these settings do not always give the right diagnosis, and some may fail to give a diagnosis at all. People may leave the E.R. or clinic with a treatment plan for an illness they don't even have.

The facts

The truth is, medical misdiagnosis is not a rare event in medical settings across the nation. According to a study published in BMJ Quality & Safety, one out of every 20 adults who are seen in an outpatient setting are misdiagnosed. This calculates to a surprising 12 million patients each year. In approximately six million of those cases, failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis may potentially cause serious patient harm.

What causes misdiagnosis?

Emergency rooms and outpatient clinics are often chaotic environments, which can lead to medical errors. Health care staff may be running from one patient to the other in order to see as many patients as possible in a limited amount of time. In these types of settings, doctors attend to patients who are not familiar to them and physicians may have an incomplete medical history of the patient. Doctors could inadvertently order the wrong type of screening test, or misread the results of a test to reach a false diagnosis. All of these situations may lead to patient misdiagnosis.

Implications

Why is medical misdiagnosis so dangerous? While patients are being treated for a medical condition they do not have, their actual condition may be getting worse. Patients could be prescribed medication for the wrong illness, and the drugs they take may have undesirable side effects. In some cases, patients may be made to undergo an unnecessary surgery and spend a significant amount of time in pain, recovering from the erroneous medical procedure. Not to mention the expenses tied to receiving medical attention for the wrong condition.

Seeking legal assistance

Medical negligence is a serious problem in Michigan and across the United States. If you have been victimized by medical malpractice, and wish to explore your legal options, you may want to speak to an attorney regarding your situation. You may be eligible for compensation for your unnecessary medical expenses, lost wages from work, as well as any pain and suffering you experienced as a result of physician negligence.