Medical errors often start with an emergency room misdiagnosis

On Behalf of | Jan 3, 2023 | Personal Injury |

People who are suffering from a sudden medical issue and need to get treatment immediately will automatically go to the emergency room at the hospital. In Illinois and across the United States, this is the sensible thing to do. Patients and their loved ones expect the proper treatment to be provided. That includes an accurate diagnosis.

However, even in the age of advanced equipment and care, medical mistakes are unfortunately common. One that is garnering increased attention is the patient being misdiagnosed in the ER. Recent research has analyzed this very issue. People who believe they or a loved one was misdiagnosed and suffered harm because of it need guidance to know their options.

Study yields worrisome numbers about ER missteps

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality with analysis by Johns Hopkins University, ER misdiagnoses can lead to up to 250,000 people losing their lives annually. It also says that of the 130 million people who go to the ER across the nation, around 7.4 million receive a wrong diagnosis. Of those, approximately 370,000 are seriously harmed in some way.

The medical issues range from having a stroke, suffering from pneumonia or having sepsis—all of which are serious. A common denominator in the medical mistakes is symptoms that medical professionals have trouble recognizing immediately.

For example, there are certain hallmarks for heart attacks and strokes and there may be a misplaced assumption that a more unusual symptom is indicative of something else. Since the physicians in an ER may not be as experienced as other medical professionals, they are prone to thinking that the symptoms are clear cut when they are not.

Misdiagnosis is a major factor in people suffering injuries, illness or a worsened condition. This has been known for many years and two decades ago was a focus of improving medical care. Still, it persists and it often happens in the most crucial situations like an ER when direct and accurate treatment is needed most.

Recognizing medical malpractice may require professional help

People in need of medical care place inherent trust in hospitals, doctors and other medical professionals. No one wants to think that there was a mistake that led to a person being harmed or even losing their life. As this research shows, it does happen all too frequently.

Since there can be massive medical expenses, lost income and long-term challenges from medical errors, it is imperative that those who suspect or already know a mistake happened have advice with how to proceed. These cases can be complex and confusing, so it is wise to get qualified representation immediately to assess the situation, gather evidence and move forward.

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