Tag Archives: medical mistake

Study shows misdiagnosis occurs regularly in doctor’s offices

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

Misdiagnosis of Lyme disease being discussed by New York senator

New York – Many people, including doctors, automatically associate tick bites with Lyme disease, especially when the bite is followed by fever, headache, and body aches or pain. However, current research shows that this can easily lead to a misdiagnosis of the patients true problem. A senator from New York is pushing for more training of doctors and nurses to make them aware of the various tick-borne diseases that are possible beyond just Lyme. Healthcare professionals are trained to diagnose illnesses of all sorts by working through a list of possibilities, known as a differential diagnosis. However, a top New York City medical malpractice attorney explains that some physicians prematurely jump to conclusions, leading to a missed diagnosis or other medical error. A doctor is more likely to correctly diagnose and treat a patient when all appropriate possibilities have been considered. More importantly, the correct diagnostic tests must be ordered by the doctor in order to avoid a medical mistake. The wrong diagnosis will usually lead to the wrong treatment of the patient’s condition and often associated complications. The complications from the wrong medical treatment can be due to side effects from the treatment used, as well as from failure to treat the actual illness. The current legislative effort has the goal of spreading awareness of other possible diagnoses besides Lyme when it comes to tick bites, including Powassan virus and Boriella miyamotoi. The most common treatment of antibiotics with doxycycline does not work on these other diseases, so a doctor error in one of these cases would lead to failure of the treatment. Some healthcare workers and health insurance companies have claimed that efforts such as this may just lead to defensive medicine and higher cost of care. However, patient advocates note that it is the responsibility of doctors and nurses to study their field of medicine more thoroughly and stay up-to-date of the current research and literature. They say that hospitals and national medical societies should carefully create protocols in order to assure that doctors order the right studies in order to avoid misdiagnosis as well as unnecessary medical testing. Proper health care requires diligence and hard work in order to avoid negligence and failure, according to activists. Read more about other tick-borne diseases and the push for more research here.

Photo by Subconsci Productions (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sbconsci/361586876/) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Doctors concerned about glucose test strip errors

Federal officials have issued a warning about potential medical mistakes that can occur from using a particular blood sugar test strip. The glucose test strips, commonly used by patients with diabetes, have been recalled due to incorrect results that have been occurring from their usage. The strips are used by placing them into an electronic glucose monitor with a small sample of the patient’s blood placed onto the strip. The lab test results that come back from the electronic monitors have been showing errors, usually indicating abnormally high sugar levels by mistake. According to reports, the medical-grade diabetic strips have been distributed in multiple regions, including the New York area. Consumers and medical professionals alike have expressed concern regarding the medical errors that may come from this dangerous situation. Patients and doctors make health care decisions based on the results obtained from the test, such as how much medication to take or even which medicine to prescribe. A doctor’s mistake can easily occur if the test result comes back high and the doctor or patient doesn’t properly recognize the signs and symptoms of high or low blood sugar. The product recall comes with a warning that medication errors or prescription mistakes must be considered for all patients that have been using the affected batch of incorrect blood test strips. Some have warned the public that serious adverse effects, including illness, disability and wrongful death can all be associated with the use of damaged medical supplies. The danger involved, especially for those with diabetes or risk of sugar abnormalities, is a serious one that should be discussed with your doctor or health professional. Consumers, doctors and nurses are advised to read up more about this medical product recall here.

Photo by Biswarup Ganguly (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hospital error kills patient after giving her wrong blood transfusion

New York — A Brooklyn, NY hospital reported that a patient died after a hospital mistake led to the patient receiving the wrong blood type. They believe an error in blood typing in the hospital’s laboratory led to the deadly mistake. It was unclear as to why the mistake occurred but some patient safety advocates believe it may have been preventable. They say that human error is often responsible for medical mistakes. A top medical malpractice lawyer in New York City explained that sometimes errors like this occur when a nurse, doctor or phlebotomist don’t properly label blood sample tube at the bedside, as is protocol. Other times the slip up can occur in the lab when the technician improperly handles the blood sample. Investigators in the field note that it will be necessary to determine if the lab technician was fully trained to conduct the testing and to see if all of the medical equipment being used was inspected, calibrated correctly and in full working condition. They also say that this type of critical testing should be double-checked for accuracy due to the significant nature of such a transfusion error and the possibility of a mix up. Pending further investigation into this suspected medical malpractice episode, the hospital has been directed to send all blood transfusion testing and work to outside lab facilities. The hospital is currently sending the blood testing to another hospital in Brooklyn. Doctors explain that when a patient receives the wrong blood type, the body sees the blood transfusion as an invader and therefore reacts to the dangerous situation quickly. This leaves nurses and doctors precious little time to recognize the mistake and try life saving intervention. According to activists, it will also be necessary to determine if the hospital staff missed the diagnosis when the patient’s condition started to deteriorate, compounding the medical error. See this article for more information about the fatal blood transfusion mistake at the hospital.

Photo by U.S. Navy photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Woman dies of lung cancer after missed diagnosis

New York — A woman from Brooklyn, NY died from complications of lung cancer after doctors at the hospital delayed diagnosis of her deadly condition. Family of the victim say that the hospital’s misdiagnosis was due to not following up on a suspicious finding in an x-ray several years earlier. A small nodule or mass was spotted on a chest x-ray but her doctors failed to properly evaluate this, delaying her cancer diagnosis for over two years. Reports show that the doctors working in the New York City owned hospital were negligent by not fully reading and acting on the x-ray report from the radiologist, which pointed out the suspicious spot and recommended specific follow-up instructions. The missed diagnosis of her lung cancer allowed the disease to continue growing until it metastasized, spreading to her other lung, liver, spine and brain. The original hospital error was compounded when subsequent clinic doctors kept treating the woman’s cough and difficulty breathing as asthma. Those doctors never ordered another chest x-ray or properly reviewed the original one.

Experts have predicted that the woman’s cancer could have been treated properly and her life could have been saved had the doctors not committed medical malpractice several times over those two years. Patient activists say that doctor mistakes like this often occur when protocols and conditions created by the hospital or office don’t meet basic standards for patient safety. They warn that doctors and nurses as well as hospital administrators need to take a close look at the day-to-day running of their facilities in order to ensure the constant rush of patients doesn’t allow for overlooking things. Some note that doctors are quick to order tests but sometimes don’t leave enough time to look at the test results. A medical malpractice lawyer in New York says that when a doctor doesn’t order the proper diagnostic tests and when he or she doesn’t follow up on the tests that were ordered, both situations constitute medical malpractice. Find out more about this medical error case and the consequences here.

Read about another case of failure to diagnose, where top medical malpractice attorneys helped the injured party receive rightful compensation in the amount of $3,425,000.

Photo by Nevit Dilmen (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons