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Report: Most patients will have 1 delayed or wrong diagnosis

A new report by the Institute of Medicine says that at some point, most people will experience a delayed or wrong diagnosis -- at the least. This report also found that diagnostic errors are not getting the attention needed to correct problems in the health care system.

The IOM committee chairman said that the most important change is that "Patients are central to a solution." This means that doctors, lab workers and other medical staff need to improve their teamwork, but the patient needs to be a part of that team.

Another point from the chairman concerns what happens when the correct diagnosis is finally made. He says that it should be standard for the doctor to let others know what happened. "This is the only way we can really learn," he said.

Unfortunately, incorrect diagnoses aren't well publicized. An example would be the Ebola patient in Dallas who was diagnosed as having sinusitis by emergency room staff. He eventually passed away. That case made nationwide headlines, but other cases don't.

Diagnostic errors are the most common reason for medical malpractice claims that are paid. When compared to other claims, a patient's death is almost twice as likely.

Many patients aren't sure what to do if they feel a diagnostic error has been made and they feel something is not right. A member of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine said, "This is not about blame. It's about understanding how errors arise and what we can do to prevent them."

When a diagnostic error occurs and results in injury, illness or death, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be warranted. An experienced attorney can give you information on how to move forward with such a case.

Source: ctpost.com, "Study: Diagnosis wrong too often, urgent improvement needed," Sep. 23, 2015

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