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Think medical errors are rare? Think again, says new study


When Pottsville residents need assistance with a complicated subject, they often consult the services of an expert. This is certainly the case when it comes to medical advice, as patients rely upon those who have the experience and training necessary to properly treat a patient's condition.

Unfortunately, however, those tasked with treating patients do not always do so in the right manner. Doctors make mistakes, like everyone else, but their mistakes can result in significant harm or even death when patients do not receive the care they need.

While some may think that medical errors are a unique and rare event, the data shows otherwise. For instance, the National Academy of Medicine recently released a new report concluding that most Americans will receive a misdiagnosis in their lifetime. Each year, at least 5 percent of adults experience a diagnostic error in their outpatient care. What's more, 10 percent of patient deaths were attributed to diagnostic errors, with a number of other adverse events also caused by such errors.

Given this reality, it is no surprise that misdiagnoses are the leading type of medical malpractice claims. When patients receive an improper diagnosis, it means their real condition may go untreated. Alternatively, they might be receiving harmful treatment for a condition they do not actually have. In either event, the patient can suffer injury that all relates back to the doctor's error in not properly diagnosing the patient.

The medical malpractice claim is designed to hold the doctor accountable for his or her errors. The doctor is held to a certain standard of care, and the misdiagnosis may be a violation of this standard of care if a reasonable doctor would not have made the same error. By proving the injury was caused by a misdiagnosis, patients can recover compensation from the negligent doctor or hospital.

Source: Wisconsin Public Radio, "Report: Most Americans Will Receive A Late or Wrong Diagnosis," Scottie Lee Meyers, Oct. 5, 2015

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1 Mahantongo Street
Pottsville, PA 17901

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