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How common are diagnostic errors?

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2022 | Doctor Errors, Hospital Negligence, Personal Injury

Residents of New Jersey expect to get the best quality medical care. While doctors are held to high standards to provide care, it’s possible for them to make diagnostic errors. It’s important to know how common those errors are and when it constitutes medical malpractice.

What are diagnostic errors?

Diagnostic errors are errors that involve a failure to come up with an accurate diagnosis and explanation to patients about a health condition. There are different types of diagnostic errors, but all could lead to harm to the patient.

A delayed diagnosis is one of the types of diagnostic errors. This occurs when a person’s diagnosis of a specific illness or condition should have been made sooner. Depending on the condition the person has, a delayed diagnosis could be devastating and even fatal. For example, if a person has cancer, the sooner the diagnosis, the better as it’s easier to treat and reverse in the earliest stages. However, a delayed diagnosis could result in the cancer being discovered in stage 3 or 4, which could be deadly.

A wrong diagnosis means that the patient was diagnosed with one condition when they have a different one. This might lead to serious harm and cause for filing a medical malpractice claim if the actual condition is serious.

A missed diagnosis occurs when a person suffers from a medical condition that doesn’t get diagnosed. Patients who suffer from chronic pain or fatigue are often victims of this type of diagnostic error.

How common are these errors?

Many patients suffer from diagnostic errors. According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine quality report, every person in the country is likely to experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetimes. Delayed diagnosis is the type of diagnostic error that causes the most harm to patients each year. According to the report, between 40,000 and 80,000 people per year die as a result of being misdiagnosed.

Diagnostic errors can be deadly. If you or a loved one was misdiagnosed, it may be a good idea to see what options are available to you.

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