Gennusa, Piacun, & Ruli

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How likely is medical misdiagnosis?

When you go into an outpatient clinic or the emergency room, you rely on medical professionals to determine what is wrong and provide the proper treatment to get you back on your feet. However, there is a chance that you may leave the clinic with the wrong diagnosis or without a proper diagnosis at all. Misdiagnosis occurs at an alarming rate in the United States. 

BMJ Quality & Safety published a study that found an alarming one in 20 patients are misdiagnosed in outpatient clinics and emergency rooms across the country. That equates to approximately 12 million patients every year. In at least half of those cases, patients face significant harm because of the physician’s failure to provide an accurate diagnosis. 

Patients who receive the wrong diagnosis often go unnecessary treatments for a condition they do not have while the underlying condition may actually get worse. People may take medication they do not need or even undergo procedures and have to go through the recovery process all for nothing. The additional medical costs can also be troubling.

Short interaction times with patients may be to blame. Doctors in these settings are rushed from one patient to the next. In some instances, patients fail to provide a complete medical history, making it hard to reach a diagnosis. Wrong lab tests are ordered, and in some cases, the results are misread once they come in. It is important that you always get a second opinion when seeking medical treatment to ensure you get a proper diagnosis.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

 

 

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