Medical Misdiagnosis Harms 6M Outpatients Per Year: Report
An estimated six million Americans are harmed by outpatient misdiagnosis errors each year, according to researchers from Veterans Affairs in Texas.
In a study published in the medical journal BMJ Quality & Safety on April 17, researchers found that about 12 million people who go into medical facilities each year for outpatient care receive a medical misdiagnosis. The researchers further found that about half of those outpatient diagnosis errors result in actual harm to patients.
The findings were determined by looking at data from two previous studies on unusual patterns of return visits by patients after a primary care visit or lack of follow-up of abnormal clinical findings related to colorectal cancer, both of which are suggestive of diagnostic errors. The researchers also looked at data on consecutive cases of lung cancer.
Did You Know?
Millions of Philips CPAP Machines Recalled
Philips DreamStation, CPAP and BiPAP machines sold in recent years may pose a risk of cancer, lung damage and other injuries.Learn More
They found that the rate of misdiagnosis is about 5.08%, or about one out of every 20 people who have an outpatient visit.
Misdiagnosis harm can take the form of missed diagnosis of serious ailments and diseases, which can mean delays in crucial treatment that could affect both quality of life and the chances of survival. A misdiagnosis can also lead to patients being treated for the wrong problem, resulting in unnecessary exposure to drug side effects, radiation from various medical scans, and even unnecessary surgery that could miss the actual problem or exacerbate it.
“In all three studies, diagnostic errors were confirmed through chart review and defined as missed opportunities to make a timely or correct diagnosis based on available evidence,” according to the researchers. “This foundational evidence should encourage policymakers, healthcare organizations and researchers to start measuring and reducing diagnostic errors.”
A study published in the same journal about a year ago found that medical misdiagnosis lawsuits account for more malpractice payments than any other type of complaint. According to that study, more than a third of all money paid for medical malpractice through verdicts and settlements was because of a misdiagnosis claim.
Researchers found that medical misdiagnosis claims were more likely than any other type of malpractice lawsuit to involve the death of a patient.
"*" indicates required fields
More Top Stories
With thousands of Bard hernia mesh lawsuits pending in the federal court system, a fourth bellwether trial will be held in the spring, involving allegations that defects with Bard 3DMax caused painful and permanent injuries.
A Tepezza hearing loss lawsuit accuses the manufacturer of failing to warn doctors to conduct hearing tests, which could have helped a woman avoid permanent hearing damage.
A South Dakota man has filed one of the first gastroparesis lawsuits against Ozempic manufacturers, alleging that users have not been adequately warned about the risk of severe vomiting and long-term stomach side effects.