Sometimes old advice really is the best advice. Turns out friends and family members who suggested getting a second opinion on a medical diagnosis were right. A recent study has estimated that over 795,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled every year due to misdiagnosed medical issues.
Johns Hopkins University and Risk Management Foundation of the Harvard Medical Institutions recently participated in a joint study which found that diagnosing a medical condition is not an easy thing to do because each of our bodies may present different symptoms for particular diseases. Their findings showed that cancers, vascular events, and infections account for about 75% of serious harms. Specifically, stroke, thromboembolism, pneumonia, and lung cancer, cause nearly 39% of total serious harms. Armed with data from this new way of studying the problem, researchers can now work on disease-specific strategies to reduce the number of misdiagnoses that lead to disabilities and deaths.
Unlike previous studies that focused on specific healthcare situations, like private care, hospitals, emergency rooms, etc., this study used a disease-specific approach when analyzing diagnoses errors and harm rates. “A disease-focused approach to diagnostic error prevention and mitigation has the potential to significantly reduce these harms,” Newman-Toker, director of the Hopkins Center for Diagnostic Excellence said. “Reducing diagnostic errors by 50% for stroke, sepsis, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism and lung cancer could cut permanent disabilities and deaths by 150,000 per year.”
While this new research perspective, coupled with artificial intelligence, patient simulators, algorithms, and virtual medicine techniques, can lead to significant improvements in diagnosing and treating illnesses, it will take time to incorporate and implement solutions. If you or someone you love has been misdiagnosed, the attorneys at Leonard Sciolla are here to help. Contact one of our attorneys today.