According to the Washington Post, recent studies reflect significant numbers of physicians are misdiagnosing patients, leading to consider harm to patients.
A 2009 report funded by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that 28 percent of 583 diagnostic mistakes reported anonymously by doctors were life-threatening or had resulted in death or permanent disability. A meta-analysis published last year in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety found that fatal diagnostic errors in U.S. intensive care units appear to equal the 40,500 deaths that result each year from breast cancer. And a new study of 190 errors at a VA hospital system in Texas found that many errors involved common diseases such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections; 87 percent had the potential for “considerable to severe harm” including “inevitable death.
The problem is not new.
In 1991, a groundbreaking study by Harvard Medical School reported a misdiagnosis in over 14% of doctor erros, and three-quarters of these errors involved negligence, such as a failure by doctors to follow up on test results.
Our experience representing patients in serious cases of medical injury supports the statistics.