Most of us have experienced the loss of a loved one from major diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or chronic lower respiratory illnesses. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list these three as the leading causes of death in the United States. However, these statistics may be masking the actual third leading cause of death which is misdiagnosis. This is not something you will find listed on a death certificate as a cause of death and therefore, separate research must be taken into consideration. Misdiagnosis is an instance where you’ll want to have a Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney, and these statistics should concern all of us.
Misdiagnosis in Seniors
Unfortunately, one of our most vulnerable populations, our seniors are often victims of misdiagnosis. There are two primary reasons why this can occur according to studies, first, oftentimes seniors fail to report symptoms to their physicians because they believe they are dealing with signs of aging. Secondarily, physicians often rely too heavily on tests and pay too little attention to symptoms. It is important for caregivers, and those of us who are aging to pay attention to all changes in our bodies and report them accurately to a physician. Because a medical team has an obligation to make sure they are protecting their patients, incidents of misdiagnosis can be considered a case for a Jacksonville medical malpractice attorney.
Fatalities Associated with Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis of fatal diseases is not unusual, in fact, according to a recent article in Time Magazine, there may be as many as 250,000 deaths associated with medical errors on an annual basis. Not every fatality is associated with misdiagnosis, but these high numbers should force each of us to pay attention to how our medical teams are treating their patients. This type of medical malpractice should concern everyone who sees any type of medical professional, particularly when misdiagnosis can lead to more serious illness or death.
Diagnosis Errors Not Declining
Coverys, a nationally recognized medical professional liability insurer issued a report in 2017 which indicated more than 30 percent of all medical malpractice claims were because of misdiagnosis. While other types of malpractice claims were down during the study period, misdiagnosis continues to be a problem. Unfortunately, this same study indicates that more than 35 percent of patients who are misdiagnosed lose their lives.
No Single Cause of Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis does not always fall directly on the primary physician. In fact, radiology errors and lab testing errors are often a direct cause. In some cases, this is because results were misinterpreted, or because the amount of data contained in the interpretation was so cumbersome, the physician overlooked data that was important. This is not to say there are not issues pertaining to physician care. In some cases, the physician failed to order the proper testing or failed to read the results accurately. In some cases, the physician’s failure to ask pertinent medical questions about the patient’s family history resulted in misdiagnosis.
Understanding that mistakes can happen, we depend on our health care team to provide us with accurate information when we seek medical care. Clearly, this is not happening in all instances. Our medical care teams have an obligation to provide us with information pertaining to our condition, and to make sure we are being treated for the condition which sent us to them in the first place. However, if our medical care teams have failed to diagnose our condition properly, the treatment will be delayed.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm, or your loved one has lost their lives because a medical professional failed to properly diagnose a condition, you should seek advice from a personal injury attorney who has experience with malpractice claims.