If you believe your injury or medical condition was either caused by or worsened due to the negligence of a healthcare professional, you may be able to seek compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
A new study from September has shown that errors in diagnostics are even more rampant than previously estimated. One in 20, or 5%, are effected annually, with 10% of patient deaths attributing to these types of errors. And while there are numerous recommendations by experts to improve this rate, the problem is that most recommendations would take years to put into place.
When health care providers fail to provide accurate and timely diagnoses, patients are placed at risk. Proper diagnosis is critical to medical care. In September, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report that found diagnostic errors are a persistent problem. The report found that annually, one in 20 adults receiving outpatient care experiences a diagnostic error.
On August 2, 2011, Lewis Ogioba, then 15 years old, felt dizzy during basketball practice. His parents took him to Easton Hospital located in Forks Township, Pennsylvania. He was seen at 7:59 p.m. by Dr. Chiraag Gupta in the emergency room. Dr. Gupta treated Lewis with oxygen and prescribed oral prednisone medication. Additionally, Dr. Gupta diagnosed Lewis with asthma and ordered him to follow up with his primary care physician. He was discharged at 10:52 p.m. Approximately three hours later, Lewis went into cardiac arrest and died.
Contrary to popular intuition, surgical errors are not the basis for the majority of medical malpractice lawsuits, but in fact the leading causes of malpractice lawsuits are diagnostic issues. There are several diagnostic issues such as misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose. Diagnosis is key to knowing which treatment or procedure a patient needs, and so when there is a failure to accurately diagnose a patient, death commonly results. There are generally three types of problems with diagnosis and each can result in severe injury and/or death. Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor diagnoses the patient with the wrong disease. For example, a patient arrives in a hospital with gastric distress and is diagnosed with a stomach illness rather than a heart attack. Delayed diagnosis is when a doctor gets the right diagnosis, but due to some error or other event is not able to "catch" the disease in time. Finally, there is missed diagnosis. In cases of missed diagnosis, a patient is examined by a doctor and the doctor finds no serious problem. As a result, the patient leaves thinking there is nothing wrong but later finds that there was a latent illness that the doctor missed.