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Failure to diagnose and misdiagnosis are all too common

Diagnostic errors are often preventable, and in the time it takes for someone to realize the mistake the patient may have received unnecessary treatment or missed out on treatment that would improve or eliminate his or her condition.

Research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine shows that the problem is more common than most people imagine. According to the research, millions of dollars in medical malpractice claims are linked to diagnostic errors. This is potentially a problem in Louisiana as well as elsewhere in the country.

There are several different ways that diagnostic errors might happen. A tired or unfocused physician might miss out on crucial symptoms of the condition, or may not probe deep enough to find the real root of the problem. Not spending enough time with the patient or reviewing patient test results can also lead to a failure to diagnose which may lead to a patient’s condition growing worse over time.

Mistakes in the lab, such as mixing up results between patients, can cause problems for multiple individuals at a time.

Being prescribed the wrong medication or treatment may have devastating consequences for unknowing patients. All of these errors can be catastrophic for a patient who actually does need medical services for an existing condition. Diseases and complications that have minor or misleading symptoms are especially difficult to diagnose, but doctors retain the responsibility for fully investigating the options and providing each patient with a high level of care.

Patients trust their doctors to discover problems and suggest treatments that can help, not hurt. Victims of medical malpractice should seek legal advice about how to proceed with their claims.


Poughkeepsie Journal, “Medical test mistakes pose serious risk,” Lisa Iannucci, May 25, 2014 

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