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Misdiagnosis can lead to serious injuries

When patients visit an outpatient clinic or the emergency room in Maryland and across the country, they may expect to receive a thorough examination, diagnosis and a possible treatment plan. In some cases, however, physicians may fail to provide a diagnosis or may misdiagnose patients altogether. This could lead to significant injuries. At Wilson & Parlett, we know that misdiagnosis occurs more often than some people think. This form of medical negligence can be extremely dangerous to patients across all types of health care settings.

A study published in BMJ Quality and Safety reported that approximately 12 million Americans are affected by diagnostic errors in outpatient clinics and emergency rooms every year. Nearly half of those incidents resulted in serious problems for patients. For instance, a health care professional may inadvertently misdiagnose a patient with pneumonia when he or she is actually suffering from lung cancer. While the patient is being treated for the wrong diagnosis, the actual ailment may become worse.

These medical errors may be caused by several factors, which include the following:

  •          Physicians do not spend the proper amount of time with each patient.
  •          Doctors are not given the patient’s entire medical history or fail to review the full history.
  •          Health care professionals order the wrong type of screening tests or misread the results of the tests.

Misdiagnosed conditions may cause patients to undergo unnecessary surgical procedures, take medication that they don’t need, endure needless pain and accumulate unwarranted medical expenses.

To learn more about misdiagnosis, visit our page on medical negligence. 

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