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Chicago Personal Injury Blog

How Common Are Diagnostic Errors?

by Matt in Medical Malpractice

When we go to see our doctor, we trust him or her to accurately diagnose the problem and treat us. Unfortunately, diagnostic errors are dangerously common. Diagnostic errors can be defined as diagnosis that is missed, wrong or delayed, as detected by some subsequent test or finding. Many times, misread tests or X-rays can lead to a problematic misdiagnosis. While this may not seem like a big deal, delaying treatment increases the chance of serious complications in any condition. You also may end up suffering through more painful treatments or surgery that could have been avoided. Obviously, diagnostic errors therefore are a serious concern, yet they actually occur around 5 to 15 percent of the time!

According to research done at the Johns Hopkins medical school, diagnostic errors account for the largest percent of U.S. malpractice claims, contributing to the most severe patient harm and the highest sums of penalty payouts. According to David E. Newman-Toker, M.D., Ph.D., an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the leader of the study published in BMJ Quality and Safety, “diagnostic errors could easily be the biggest patient safety and medical malpractice problem in the United States.” Not only are diagnostic errors common, but they are also potentially deadly, even for relatively minor diseases such as UTIs and pneumonia.

What Can I Do If I Was Misdiagnosed?

Since misdiagnoses are common, you may well have been the victim of a diagnostic error at some point in your life. It is important to always get a second opinion if you think that you have not been informed correctly about your condition. The sooner you get correct treatment, the better. It will minimize your pain and suffering, as well as the costs associated with treatment.

If a doctor fails to make an accurate and timely diagnosis of your harmful medical condition, you may also be able to pursue a legal remedy by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In order to sue, you have to determine whether the doctor breached the medical standard of care you deserve under the circumstances. In other words, a similarly-trained doctor in the same medical community would have noticed and identified your condition within a shorter period of time. You can then recover the money you spent remedying the problem as well as compensation for your pain and suffering.

If you believe that you may have been misdiagnosed, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer will be able to help you analyze and build the case. You shouldn’t have to suffer through this experience alone. If you have been the victim of diagnostic error in Chicago, call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today to speak with an experienced Chicago injury attorney at (312) 236-2900. We offer free consultations to learn the details of your situation and help you understand your rights.