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When Diagnostic Errors Result in Medical Complications


If you or a loved one has experienced a misdiagnosis that led to serious complications or death, you are not alone. Between one and two out of every ten medical cases involved diagnoses that were incorrect, missed altogether, or not discovered until much later. Diagnostic errors that occur in intensive care units alone total over 40,000 deaths annually. If your health and lifestyle are impacted by such an error, an experienced Brooklyn medical malpractice attorney may be able to help you recoup damages.

Facts about Diagnostic Errors 

How and why do so many of these diagnostic mistakes occur? The facts are astonishing:

  • 75 percent of such errors are the result of physician negligence, such as failing to respond responsibly to test results;
  • Medicine has become increasingly complex over time, making it difficult for physicians to keep up with the latest information and procedures;
  • The health-care system has become significantly more fragmented in recent years, so doctors tend to lack an overall picture of patients;
  • Time pressures keep doctors on the move, spending less and less time with each patient;
  • Testing has become more high-tech, leaving less room for physicians instincts and hands-on diagnoses;
  • Diagnostic errors are not routinely studied and accounted for in hospitals, making corrective measures hard to develop;
  • Making a correct diagnosis is reliant on multiple complex factors that require interpretation, and that require time to reveal correctness;
  • Patients frequently move on to a new doctor when a diagnosis doesn’t pan out, rather than letting the initial doctor know that an error was made;
  • Language barriers make it difficult for doctors to get an accurate picture of the problem.

Where do Diagnostic Errors Occur? 

While hospitals are widely known to have problems with such errors, primary care visits in doctors’ offices result in over 500,000 missed diagnoses every year, many of which lead to severe health complications. VA facilities and other medical clinics also have high numbers of errors.

Effects on Patients 

Clearly, patient outcomes may be seriously impacted by diagnostic errors. Many treatable conditions, such as cancer, may become much worse in the time it takes to identify to real health issue. Other problems, such as the obstruction of the bowel, if misdiagnosed, could lead to a fatal case of sepsis. One study indicates that the incidence of medical errors that result in some level of patient harm may be as high as 40,000 per day, and medical errors lead to well over 200,000 deaths annually. In particular, Medicare patients experience a high rate of these errors, frequently being treated in a way that leads to complications, not solutions, to existing medical issues.

Getting Legal Help 

Medical personnel and facilities should be held accountable when their errors lead to serious injuries or death. At Law Offices of David J. Hernandez & Associates, we pride ourselves on our unrelenting dedication to securing the best possible outcomes for our clients. Contact Us in Brooklyn today for a free, confidential consultation.


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