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Failure to diagnose medical problems widespread

When people do not feel well, they turn to their doctor for advice. Patients trust that their doctor will listen to their list of symptoms and suggest tests or a referral to a specialist to further explore the problem. Moreover, patients expect that their doctors will accurately read test results in order to diagnose and properly treat their ailments. Recent studies, however, suggest that this trust in doctors may be misplaced. Failure to diagnose a problem is more widespread than people realize.

Patients may not realize that time has passed between a missed diagnosis and the discovery of illness; they might think that a medical problem is new, when actually, it has been there all along. A growing mountain of evidence suggests that a missed diagnosis is actually one of the most common types of medical errors, happening more frequently than surgical mishaps. In fact, it is estimated that over the last 25 years, 80,000 to 160,000 Americans have been injured or died from a failure to properly diagnose an injury or illness.

Individuals who have suffered a worsened medical condition after a doctor failed to accurately and quickly diagnose a medical problem should realize that this might be considered medical malpractice. The medical community needs to be held accountable when they do not correctly perform their job. Accordingly, patients who have suffered unnecessarily may wish to consult with an experienced attorney. The attorney can review the medical information to determine whether a doctor acted wrongfully which could result in a legal claim for compensation.

Source: Huffington Post, “Diagnostic Errors More Common In Medical Malpractice Claims Than Surgical, Medication Errors: Study,” April 24, 2013