Majority of Americans will Experience Wrong or Delayed Diagnosis in their Lifetime

Every person gets sick or injured at some point in their lives and will need medical care. Often, when that person presents to a doctor, hospital, or physician, the ill patient will defer to the doctor’s judgment in determining what the issue is and what course of treatment to follow. But a new study is highlighting the risks of that deferral as more people are becoming the victims of incorrect diagnoses during their lifetimes.

The Institute of Medicine recently reviewed diagnosis errors in an effort to quantify the issue and to address these failings that seem to be mostly ignored by the public. Unlike other forms of medical malpractice, diagnosis mistakes rarely receive widespread coverage in the media even though their results can be deadly. A failure to recognize life-threatening symptoms, a failure to identify cancer, or even a failure to contain a patient with a highly contagious disease are all examples of why diagnosing is a critically important step in the healthcare process.

The authors of the study determined that it is nearly impossible to put actual numbers behind the instances of failed diagnoses that occur in the United States each year because they tend not to get reported, and in some cases, they might not even be noticed. But by one conservative estimate, one in 20 adults who seek outpatient care each year will be the victim of a diagnostic error. When a five percent error rate each year is considered, it is apparent that the majority of Americans will be the victim of a diagnosis error or delay at some point in their lifetimes.

The issue is so prevalent that diagnostic errors are now the leading cause of paid medical malpractice claims in the nation. Further, they are almost twice as likely to cause the death of a patient as are other forms of medical malpractice claims.

These mistakes in diagnosing have far-reaching consequences as the patients themselves are far from the only ones who suffer. In addition, that patient’s family members, friends, and coworkers can also feel the harm caused by an errant doctor who does not provide an accurate diagnosis, leading to suffering by dozens or even more individuals.

Victims who are hurt when a diagnosis is missed in the Chicago area might be entitled to bring a medical malpractice claim for their damages which can help them recover from the financial toll they suffer. These claims often seek payment for things like medical expenses, rehabilitative care, loss of a normal life, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages depending on the facts involved in any particular case. When someone dies as a result of a medical mistake, the right to seek relief may pass to that victim’s surviving family members though no amount of compensation can ever be deemed adequate in this cases.

If you have questions about a diagnosis you received, the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. want to help. We offer all victims a no-cost, no-obligation case consultation when they call us toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and we keep a lawyer standing by 24/7 to speak with you.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we believe that victims deserve to be heard and deserve to be protected, something that we strive to do daily. If we can help you, call us now so that you can get the relief that you deserve for your injuries.

Prior Blog Entry:

Keys to Selecting a Safe Bicycle Helmet, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 23, 2015.


Study Finds Diagnostic Errors Occur Frequently, Changes Needed, by Lauran Neergaard, Claims Journal, published September 23, 2015.

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