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Dealing with misdiagnosis issues

New York health care providers are among those who must contend with the implications of misdiagnosis. The issue is significant, and according to experts, solutions are slow in coming. The areas affected have remained consistent since the term and definition for misdiagnosis were coined in 2005. Diagnostic errors tend to be particularly common for cancer and cardiovascular issues as well as for infections. Some of the most common failure to diagnose issues include bowel perforation, pulmonary embolism and myocardial infarction.

Experts rely on autopsy information as one avenue for accumulating data about diagnostic errors. A study published in 2000 pointed to reduced rates of errors but consistency in the categories of error. A 2008 study noted that pulmonary embolism was the greatest source of misdiagnosis in the data evaluated. An estimate of at least a 10-percent rate of misdiagnosis is reported.

Physicians may also report diagnostic errors, although this is less common. In addition to cardiovascular and cancer issues, drug reactions are included in physician-reported situations. However, the types of misdiagnosis reported vary based on an individual's specialty.

Medical professionals indicate that the tendency to blame someone for an error results in a general reluctance to report them. Improving the situation may require early training in a doctor's education so that diagnostic abilities are improved. Meanwhile, an individual dealing with the consequences of a misdiagnosis may be concerned with the physical and financial implications along with the legal responsibility of a professional who has erred.

It may be helpful to discuss concerns with a lawyer if a missed diagnosis has resulted in a serious health condition or death. An experienced lawyer who is familiar with medical malpractice cases may be able to request records and other information needed to establish whether malpractice has occurred.

Source: Med Page Today, "Misdiagnosis: Can It Be Remedied?", Joyce Frieden, August 17, 2014

Source: Med Page Today, "Misdiagnosis: Can It Be Remedied?", Joyce Frieden, August 17, 2014

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