Investigators at Johns Hopkins University led a study of the rate of diagnostic errors for 15 different medical conditions. Taking its data from 28 previous studies and analyzing a total of 91,755 patients, investigators found that 9.6% of patients with these conditions were misdiagnosed. Georgia residents should know that the conditions fell under one of three categories: infections, major vascular events and cancers.
Some of the vascular events included in the study were stroke and myocardial infarction. Under cancers were lung, breast and prostate cancer. Infections included pneumonia, sepsis and meningitis. The study sample sizes were naturally unequal with cancer cases being the greatest in number, followed by vascular event cases.
As for diagnostic errors, these could be misdiagnoses, delayed diagnoses, or delays in the communication of the diagnosis to the patient. Spinal abscesses were the most frequently misdiagnosed condition with 62.1% of patients being the victims of a diagnostic error. By contrast, errors were reported among 2.2% of those with myocardial infarction.
The percentage of patients who incurred serious harm as a result of the error also varied. Among patients with a spinal abscess, 35.6% were seriously injured. For all patients, a mean of 5.2% incurred this level of harm.
Under medical malpractice law, those who are harmed through a medical professional’s negligence can be eligible for compensation. They will, of course, need to prove, among other things, that the defendant failed to live up to the requisite standard of care. As the process of filing a claim can be hard, victims may want a lawyer to work with them throughout the process.