According to a study from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USDVA), researchers have estimated that approximately 12 million patients are misdiagnosed every year in America. A misdiagnosis of an injury or illness can potentially be a form of negligence that is, unfortunately, all too common within America’s healthcare industry.
In a 2017 report from the Mayo Clinic, research scientists estimated that only about 12 percent of patients received a correct diagnosis from their primary care providers. In 66 percent of cases, the final diagnosis was refined or more extensively defined. However, in 21 percent of cases, “final diagnoses were distinctly different than referral diagnoses.” Overall, the total consumer costs for misdiagnosed patients were “significantly higher” than costs for patients who received a correct initial diagnosis.
Cases of misdiagnosis can not only lead to inflated medical costs — they can also lead to delayed care, complications, advanced sickness, and even death. According to a JAMA-published study on deaths caused by medical errors in America, researchers concluded that as many as 80 thousand hospital deaths can be ascribed to patient misdiagnosis each year.
These diagnosis errors also account for a significant portion of medical malpractice claims. In a 2018 report from the insurance company Coverys, researchers found that “diagnosis-related failures [were] cited as the single-largest root cause of claims.” In total, diagnostic-related claims accounted for approximately 47 percent of malpractice cases.
Unfortunately, many researchers and healthcare professionals agree that errors in patient diagnoses are still a prevalent issue in today’s medical landscape. Paul Epner, co-founder and CEO of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, emphasized the need for greater accountability from healthcare facilities in a 2019 interview with the research-based publication, Managed Care.
“Our back-of-the-envelope estimates are that it’s impacting our economy to the tune of a hundred billion dollars a year,” said Epner. “The fact that we don’t have operational measures so we can interrogate a database to learn about diagnostic performance is a clear gap.”
If you or a loved one has experienced serious injury or health complications because of a misdiagnosis, the New York medical malpractice lawyers at Hach & Rose, LLP will take every action necessary to investigate your case and obtain justice for you and your loved ones.
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