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What are diagnostic errors?

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2023 | MEDICAL MALPRACTICE - Medical Malpractice |

Errors should not happen in the medical field, as they can result in serious consequences. Unfortunately, they do, and a common one is diagnostic errors, which include failure to diagnose, delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis.

Here is what you should know about these diagnostic errors.

Failure to diagnose

A doctor who has not spent adequate time with a patient to learn more about their symptoms and medical history may fail to diagnose them correctly. Many patients with rare conditions or chronic pain experience these diagnostic errors.

Delayed diagnosis

The longer it takes a doctor to diagnose a condition, the greater the harm a patient can suffer.

Wrong diagnosis

Many diseases have similar signs and symptoms. Doctors need to take care not to jump to conclusions as their first thought may not be correct. They need to consider the full list of conditions that the signs and symptoms could hold true for.

Effects of diagnostic errors

Diagnostic errors can harm patients considerably. They can worsen a condition that could have been controlled. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, it may spread to an uncontrollable stage.

Additionally, diagnostic errors can lead to death. 40,000 to 80,000 people in U.S. hospitals die every year from diagnostic failures.

Can diagnostic errors be avoided?

Carrying out the correct tests, understanding a patient’s medical history in-depth and communicating with patients on time can prevent diagnostic errors.

Diagnostic errors are among the leading causes of medical malpractice claims. If you sustain injuries because a doctor gave you a wrong or delayed diagnosis or failed to diagnose you altogether, you should consider your options to receive just compensation.