Government Report Shows High Instances of Misdiagnoses
Healthcare providers in hospitals are supposed to be professionals in their field. That means that they’ve been trained and educated in diagnosing and treating those with medical problems. They provide critical assistance to the general public, and we are very grateful for all the hard work they do. We understand that even doctors and nurses are human, and as Alexander Pope put it: to err is human.
Unfortunately, when medical professionals make a mistake, it can have severe consequences. Every year, millions of people are misdiagnosed by their doctor or emergency room physicians, and those people often end up suffering. Whether that means that their condition worsens or they lose their life, this happens far too often. This type of error is considered medical malpractice, and if it has happened to you or someone you love, you can seek compensation for your suffering by hiring a Kentucky medical malpractice attorney.
What does the government report say?
The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a report this month that reveals that US emergency rooms are responsible for more than seven million misdiagnoses every year. In other words, one in 18 patients a year are given the wrong diagnosis. According to CNN, “the researchers estimate that 7.4 million misdiagnosis errors are made every year, 2.6 million people receive a harm that could have been prevented, and another 370,000 are permanently disabled or die because of the misdiagnosis.” The researchers of this report also stated that this revelation is reflective of primary care and hospital inpatient settings.
The report showed that the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions included:
- Myocardial infarction
- Aortic aneurysm/dissection
- Spinal cord compression/injury
- Venous thromboembolism
This is a shocking revelation, as we all have to trust these professionals with our health and lives. While this does not mean we should all stay home when we hit our heads, catch the flu, or feel like something is wrong with our bodies, it perhaps should remind us to insist on certain tests or get a second opinion.
What do the doctors have to say?
In response to this report, several of the country’s leading physicians’ groups issued a response.
They stated that the report was “misleading” and “incomplete.” In their letter, these doctors wrote that emergency services (which is what the report was focused on) deal with treating critically injured and ill patients “in a chaotic environment and with little to no information about the individual patient.” While they acknowledge that there is room for improvement, they state that the report mischaracterizes emergency medicine, noting that the emergency physician is meant to stabilize the patient, and start them on the path to full diagnoses and treatment.
CNN also highlighted the doctors’ concerns on the report that “several of the studies assessed and included in the analysis were from emergency departments from other countries.” This means that the overall findings were not representative of emergency care in the United States.
We believe that, while some of the doctors’ criticisms of the report might be valid, misdiagnoses occur all too often and those people can end up worse off than when they were initially seen in the emergency room. When this happens, the patient needs a medical malpractice attorney.
Jake Tapper’s daughters’ misdiagnosis nearly cost her life
Someone who has experienced a serious misdiagnosis is CNN correspondent Jake Tapper’s daughter, Alice Tapper. When she went into the emergency room with severe abdominal pain and cramping, chills, a fever, and vomiting, they misdiagnosed her with a viral infection, and not her perforated appendix that was later discovered. It took days for her to receive a correct diagnosis, and this was after being transferred to a different hospital, requests for a sonogram being waved aside as unnecessary, and her complaints of extreme pain being ignored. It took a call from her famous father to the hospital administrator to finally get her an x-ray, which revealed her true condition.
When she was finally taken to surgery, it was discovered that due to the leak of toxic bacteria into her bloodstream, she was suffering sepsis, and was going through hypovolemic shock. This could have cost her life, but thankfully, she survived.
Alice is still recovering a month later, but this is considered a happy ending. Many people – those without the power of a celebrity parent – suffer similarly and even end up dying. When this happens, an attorney can help you find justice through the legal system and securing compensation.
How can a Kentucky medical malpractice lawyer help me?
We understand how frustrating, painful, and scary it can be when you go to a healthcare professional to treat your illnesses or injuries, and you end up with a wrong diagnosis or a failure to diagnose. When you believe you’re going to get better and the condition or pain doesn’t go away, or it gets worse, you start doubting what you’re physically feeling because the physician told you otherwise.
This mistake can have you losing hours at work; spending money on incorrect medical treatments; missing out on important family and social events; feeling emotionally, mentally, and physically distressed; and ultimately costing you your health, possibly even your life. That’s why you need an experienced attorney. We will fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself.
Depending on the severity of your injury or illness, your lawsuit may take time as we thoroughly investigate and review your medical records, as well as any other details of your case so that we can offer a compelling lawsuit. We will also gather evidence surrounding the liable care provider to use against them, and communicate with courts and insurance companies. While this may take months, our diligent attorneys won’t stop working until your case is resolved in a favorable manner.
If you believe you have suffered harm from a misdiagnosis, you should contact Wilt & Associates today. We specialize in medical malpractice lawsuits, and have secured millions in settlements for our clients. We want to help you. To schedule a free consultation, please call us or fill out our contact form. We maintain offices in Lexington and Louisville, and proudly serve clients throughout Kentucky.