Earlier this fall, the Institute of Medicine issued a report finding that most people will receive a diagnostic error or delayed diagnosis over the course of their lifetime. One conservative estimate suggested that one in twenty adults seeking outpatient care each year will experience a diagnostic error. Not surprisingly, other studies suggest that diagnostic errors constitute the leading type of medical malpractice claims resulting in recoveries and diagnostic errors are almost twice as likely as other medical malpractice claims to have resulted in a patient’s death.
In response to these findings, the Institute of Medicine suggested better team work and communication between health care provider teams including, but not limited to, doctors, nurses, radiologists, and lab workers. In addition, patients should ask questions and be engaged in the diagnosis process reviewing copies of records and test results.
The attorneys at Hansen Dordell have experience in identifying meritorious medical malpractice claims related to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. These types of cases can arise in situations involving failure to obtain and review imaging studies or laboratory analysis. For example, certain patients presenting with emergent abdominal symptoms and findings often require radiographic imaging studies at a minimum with additional follow-up including potential hospitalization and observation. These imaging studies can provide crucial information in diagnosing complicated medical conditions including perforations or even disease. Other examples of delayed or misdiagnosis can include the failure to obtain timely laboratory testing confirming crucial levels and identifying infectious disease processes. In certain situations, failure to meet the standards of care in obtaining and interpreting these studies can result in permanent injury or even death. While patients need to take an interest in their care and ask questions, medical providers need to be held accountable for meeting standards of care within their profession.
As the recent studies and examples demonstrate, timely and accurate medical diagnosis is essential to proper patient care. If you suspect that you have suffered from an untimely or incorrect diagnosis, you may wish to contact an attorney. The attorneys at Hansen Dordell have investigated and pursued numerous medical malpractice actions resulting in millions of dollars in recovery. If you have any questions, please contact one of the experienced attorneys at Hansen Dordell by phone or email – www.hansendordell.com/ (651) 482-8900.