Emergency room care is critical, whether you’re suffering from an injury or a sudden illness. We rely on ER staff to administer urgent care to patients, but the fast-paced nature of emergency rooms can lead to critical errors.
The New York Times reported that as many as 250,000 people die each year due to emergency room diagnostic errors. 7.4 million people—out of 130 million annual visits—are inaccurately diagnosed each year, and 370,000 patients may suffer serious harm.
What kind of conditions are commonly misdiagnosed, and why?
Sepsis, stroke and pneumonia are among the conditions most likely to be misdiagnosed. This is most common when a patient presents with atypical symptoms, such as shortness of breath in a young patient having a heart attack, or stroke patients saying the room is spinning. It’s also more common with specific diseases. For example, spinal abscesses are relatively rare and thus more likely to be misdiagnosed.
Overcrowding and busy doctors can increase the risk of error. Furthermore, women and people of color have a 20 to 30 percent higher risk of being misdiagnosed.
While many in the medical community criticized the study at the heart of the Times article, it is clear that diagnostic errors can and do happen—sometimes with devastating results. Fortunately, public health campaigns, improved testing and collaboration between specialists and emergency room doctors has led to improvements in some areas, such as cardiology. Teaching hospitals are also less prone to errors, since ER doctors may have the opportunity to consult with specialists or conduct a greater number of diagnostic tests.
What to do if you’ve suffered misdiagnosis
In some cases, misdiagnosis is simply human error. Doctors are expected to meet specific standards of care, but some conditions can baffle even highly trained and experienced professionals.
When an ER doctor fails to meet the appropriate standard of care, and patients suffer harm as a result, they may be able to file a medical malpractice claim. If you believe that you were the victim of a negligent misdiagnosis, it’s important that you seek legal help right away. The Law Offices of Tim Misny can evaluate your claim and file a claim against negligent doctors, so you can recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more. The statute of limitations can run out quickly. Don’t delay exploring your legal options.
Discuss your case with an Ohio medical malpractice lawyer
The Law Offices of Tim Misny can help you with your ER misdiagnosis case. When you’re the victim of negligence or recklessness, I’ll Make Them Pay!® Call my office at (877) 614-9524 so that I can evaluate your case right away.