Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Misdiagnoses a common issue in Chicago and throughout U.S.

Scientific technology, including technology in the medical field, has improved dramatically in the last decade. With advances in equipment, it is unfortunate that there are still several cases of Chicago medical malpractice and incidents involving bad prescriptions, incorrect medical procedures and medical misdiagnoses.

A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine has revealed that misdiagnoses are more common than surgical errors and incorrect prescriptions. The patient safety advocacy group stated that many doctors miss certain critical steps that could have easily prevented medical problems from the time of a patient's initial medical consultation.

The group is known for focusing on hospitals, but the recent study has examined doctor clinics and initial care providers like triages and emergency centers. Most of the errors they found could potentially cause varying degrees of harm to patients. The study shows that 18 percent of patients could potentially have serious permanent damage while 14 percent could have died because of misdiagnoses.

Researchers found that lung, coronary and renal problems and cancers are most often misdiagnosed. The JAMA-IM studied 190 diagnostic errors made from primary care visits at two health care facilities. In each case, patients would later either be hospitalized or returned to triages within a couple of weeks.

The team concluded that errors often begin with the patient's initial visit because doctors do not have an accurate medical history on the patient. Disturbingly, many illnesses display similar symptoms.

Patient safety is a major concern that many state and federal lawmakers are addressing. As technology advances, so do the laws governing medicine. While it is impossible to eliminate all human error, the frequency of errors must be dealt with.

Victims of any form of medical malpractice are encouraged to seek an attorney for sound legal advice. Financial compensation or settlements may be available to those suffering due to medical negligence.

Source: Syracuse.com, "Study shows docs often fail to detect pneumonia and other serious conditions during exams," James T. Mulder, Feb. 26, 2013

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