When we read news stories about medical mistakes, surgical errors or negligent behavior on the part of a healthcare provider, it is often in the context of a very specific incident. One person may have been the victim of a surgical error or a doctor may have routinely neglected to conduct adequate examinations.
Medical malpractice claims like these are often reported in the media but, since most of these are focused on a single case, the bigger picture may be missed. The recent release of statistics on the percentage of misdiagnosis cases is an example of how easy it can be to miss widespread issues when the focus is put on individual scenarios.
A recent study estimates that five percent of patients who seek the advice of a medical professional are the victims of misdiagnosis. While this percentage may seem small in comparison to the 95 percent of correct diagnoses, that five percent actually equates to 12 million patients being misdiagnosed each year. It is a big problem.
Despite efforts to improve and develop solutions for keeping medical records, testing and developing medication, the fact is that resulting administrative functions have impacted the time spent by physicians on diagnosing patients properly.
It seems that we are seeing more and more cases of doctors who are unable to spend adequate time treating individual patients and they rush through examinations, fail to properly communicate with the patient and also fail to keep thorough and accurate records. This can result in a missed or delayed diagnosis.
It may also occur because of the time now required by physicians to comply with billing and insurance requirements. These circumstances may be considered human error, but they may also be classified as negligence and considered medical malpractice.
The issue of misdiagnosis is one that affects millions of patients. If you or a loved one is the victim of misdiagnosis, a consultation with an attorney can give you the opportunity to examine the matter from a legal perspective. An advocate who has the skills and experience to investigate your case can provide you with a professional opinion as to possible liability and compensation for your loss or suffering.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “The Battle Against Misdiagnosis: American doctors make the wrong call more than 12 million times a year,” Hardeep Singh, Aug. 7, 2014