Physicians misdiagnose countless patients in outpatient and emergency room settings each year, and people suffer as a result.
Millions of people seek medical attention from healthcare professionals at outpatient clinics and emergency rooms in New York and across the country each year. Whether they are going in with a life-threatening condition or a minor illness, patients expect to receive a certain level of care from physicians and other professionals. A number of studies, however, indicate that a surprising number of ill patients are misdiagnosed or are released from care without a diagnosis at all.
It is difficult to get an accurate calculation of the number of people who have been misdiagnosed by a medical professional in the U.S. Some patients may be unaware that they have been misdiagnosed in the first place. A number of physicians may try to cover up the fact that they were wrong when diagnosing a patient. Patients who are not given a diagnosis at all are also hard to factor into the numbers.
NBC News reported that approximately 12 million people are affected by wrongful diagnoses each year in the country. At least half of those cases involve people who are seriously injured as a result. For example, a patient that has lung cancer may be misdiagnosed with pneumonia after a physician misreads the x-ray.
There are several factors that can influence a physician’s ability to make an accurate diagnosis. Busy emergency rooms and outpatient clinics can create a chaotic environment, where doctors are not able to spend a sufficient amount of time with each patient. Also, a doctor may not have the patient’s full medical history, which can be critical when determining a patient’s condition. Unqualified, rushed or negligent physicians may also make simple mistakes that could have a major effect on a patient’s health.
A misdiagnosis can result in additional medical bills for follow-up care that may otherwise be unnecessary. In some cases, the patient may go through surgical procedures, be made to take time off of work, and endure pain during the recovery process. When patients are given the wrong diagnosis, the actual underlying condition may worsen and exacerbate to the point where it is untreatable. Furthermore, patients may be given medication that has undesirable side effects to treat a condition that they don’t have.
If you have been the victim of medical misdiagnosis, or any other form of malpractice, you may want to speak with a New York medical malpractice attorney about your legal rights. After looking at the details surrounding your specific case, a lawyer may be able to discuss your legal options with you and offer his or her legal assistance.