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When a Wrong Diagnosis Can Cost Your Life

Mellino Law Firm

We all rely on doctors and other healthcare providers to help us lead healthy lives and get the care we need when an illness or other medical issue strikes. And it just makes sense we put a lot of faith into the diagnoses and treatments provided by healthcare providers whose education and experience makes them the go-to experts for all types of medical and health concerns.

Medical Misdiagnosis Is Alarmingly Common

When all goes well and when the diagnosis and the care we receive are spot-on, the outcome can be great. But what about when the diagnosis is wrong, leading to inappropriate care or delaying care necessary to avoid more serious illness or even death? These are cases of wrongful diagnosis, and although we don’t often hear a lot about them, they’re far more common — and more serious — than most of us realize:

  • A study from the Mayo Clinic evaluating the usefulness of second opinions in 286 patients found one in five patients — 20% — were misdiagnosed.
  • A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)estimates diagnostic errors occur in about 10-20% of patients.
  • In a survey of 6,400 doctors, nearly all of them — 96% — agreed diagnostic errors are preventable, and about half of those doctors said they encountered diagnostic errors at least once a month.

The results of a misdiagnosis can be devastating, with many resulting in permanent disability or death. In fact, a report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found nearly a third of diagnostic mistakes caused death or permanent disability or had life-threatening consequences for patients, and a study published in the journal BMJ Quality and Safety found as many as 40,500 patients die each year in ICUs as a result of misdiagnoses.

It’s not just complex medical conditions or rare diseases that are subject to wrong diagnosis; common conditions are just as likely to be misdiagnosed. In fact, in one 2013 study of medical errors in one VA hospital system, researchers found more than a third of all errors involved a wrong diagnosis, most of relatively common conditions like pneumonia, heart failure, renal failure, and cancer. And of all the errors studied, 87% had the potential to cause severe harm or death.

Wrongful Diagnosis: Protect Yourself

Incorrect medical diagnoses can have devastating effects on your health, your emotional well-being and your finances — and all because of someone else’s mistake. Asking the doctor lots of questions, doing your own homework and seeking out second opinions are all important for preventing the devastating consequences of a wrongful diagnosis. But what should you do if you suspect you’ve already been a victim? That’s when it’s time to get some legal help.

If you believe you’ve been injured as a result of a wrong diagnosis, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. At the Mellino Law Firm, we’ve helped Cleveland-area medical malpractice and wrongful diagnosis victims protect their rights for more than 30 years.

Our practice has the expertise, the experience and the reputation to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, your financial losses and your suffering. Let us review your case. Call the Mellino Law Firm at (440) 276-3535 and schedule a no-cost consultation with one of our attorneys today.

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