A new research article published in a well-respected medical journal shows that doctors misdiagnose about 12 million adults every year in outpatient clinics and private offices. This is in addition to the hospital patients that are misdiagnosed by doctors on a regular basis. Even more concerning, the investigators explain that approximately 50% of the identified medical mistakes have the possibility to cause serious damage or illness, including wrongful death. A medical malpractice lawyer in New York City notes that he has worked with many victims of hospital errors and doctor’s mistakes. These cases of failure to diagnose often leave patients suffering with more severe illness, disability and pain. Even small delays in diagnosis can lead to catastrophic health consequences, such as spreading of a cancer or an infectious disease. These delays or failures can be attributed to many causes, such as inattentiveness by healthcare providers, illegible handwriting, poor continuing education, or even a facility that is trying to cut corners in order to save money. Patient care activists explain that doctor and nursing carelessness is a well-known problem that needs to be addressed more aggressively by private medical offices, public health clinics and hospitals alike. They say that proper oversight, education and full practice protocols are needed to improve the quality and safety of healthcare while preventing repeated medical negligence. See this article for more about the outpatient misdiagnosis study.
Illustrative photo by DoD [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons