According to the Institute of Medicine, a diagnostic error occurs when a planned action is not carried out as intended or when a flawed plan is implemented to achieve a goal. An unexpected activity’s failure is accounted for in the definition if it is not completed. For instance, many people receive incorrect Lyme disease diagnoses when they actually have another bacterial illness. Despite having tested positive for Lyme disease bacteria at some point in their lives, a person may not even have an active infection or be experiencing any current issues as a result of it. The medical professional or their institution may be held accountable for medical negligence on this basis if the misdiagnosis causes the patient to have subsequent medical issues.
What Happens If a Medical Professional Misdiagnoses You?
The patient may be authorized to pursue legal action against the healthcare professional or institution accountable for their error, whether it was deliberate or inadvertent on the part of the healthcare provider or facility, as long as the misdiagnosis results in injury to the victim.
How Many Patients Have a Misdiagnosis?
According to the most current BMJ Quality & Safety research, at least one in twenty Americans suffers injury as a result of diagnostic errors. Estimates from the three-year study show that outpatient diagnostic errors occur at a rate of 5.08 percent, or over 12 million American people, each year.
The Effects of Diagnosis Error
A misdiagnosis can have a major negative impact on a patient’s health. A person’s physical, mental, and emotional health might be negatively impacted. Diagnostic errors pose a serious threat to patient safety and the standard of treatment in outpatient settings. Approximately half of all errors, it is estimated, have the potential to result in severe harm.
Health Results of Patients With Misdiagnoses
A delayed diagnosis in medical treatment might lead to ineffective therapy. When a patient receives the wrong treatment for the wrong illness due to a misdiagnosis, their condition worsens unchecked, endangering their health. Treatment delays were to blame for 48 of the 73 incidents that the Joint Commission’s Office of Quality and Safety examined, accounting for more than half of all incidents. Between 2010 and 2014, there were 522 sentinel events in which patients lost their lives, had lifelong disabilities, or needed to stay in the hospital longer as a result of treatment delays. According to an AHRQ study, there was also 28 percent of the 583 diagnostic mistakes were fatal or caused long-term disability.
Bronchitis obliterans is frequently mistaken as other health conditions, including chemical exposure, which might result in misdiagnosed health problems. Not addressing the patient’s condition, allows bronchitis obliterans to spread and get worse. An untreated lung ailment can quickly worsen the patient’s capacity to breathe, with potentially fatal or life-threatening implications. The healthcare professional may be held liable if a patient passes away due to an illness.
Emotional Distress May Result from Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnoses in medicine can delay therapy, as well as give patients the false impression that their condition is exceedingly worse than it actually is. Patients may therefore have the right to sue the institution for psychological injury. Even though it is less evident than physical harm, emotional suffering has a significant influence on a person’s mental health. It’s an important issue that has to be resolved. When bringing legal action against a physician for a misdiagnosis, a patient may also ask for damages for emotional distress in addition to monetary recompense. A victim of misdiagnosis may be entitled to financial compensation for their suffering if it causes them mental anguish.
A patient is in danger of contracting the disease, for instance, if the medicine that causes pancreatic cancer is provided to them. When a patient complains of abdominal pain, he goes to the doctor and is given a stage 1 diagnosis. It is misdiagnosed as pancreatitis by medical personnel, who then administer poor treatment as a result. Although cancer has spread to other bodily regions, this is not diagnosed until late in the fourth stage. This patient will receive chemotherapy for a whole year.
Patients frequently experience episodes of depression and anxiety due to the financial burden of their medical treatment as well as the psychological burden of living with a serious illness. Because the patient’s pancreatic cancer was permitted to advance to stage 4, the doctor might be held accountable for the financial losses and emotional pain the patient had as a result of the missed stage 1 diagnosis.