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How likely are patients to receive a wrong or delayed diagnosis?

Although going to the doctor is not the most enjoyable time for most residents in Pennsylvania, it is often required to receive the necessary care and treatment for an illness or disease. For most patients, much trust is put in a doctor, surgeon or medical staff. Because he or she has medical education, training and experience, patients expect them to properly diagnose and treat them. However, this unfortunately does not always occur.

How likely is it that patients will receive a wrong or delayed diagnosis? According to a recent study, it was found that most patients will likely experience at least one wrong or delayed diagnosis in the course of their lifetime. While this could be a very minimal and quickly remedied error, others could cause devastating consequences such as new or worsened conditions or even death.

It is estimated that roughly 1 in 20 adult patients who seek outpatient care experience a diagnostic error each year. Diagnostic errors such as misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses are in fact the leading type of medical malpractice suit. Additionally, these claims are twice as likely to result in the death of the patient when compared to other medical errors.

A timely and accurate diagnosis can be the difference between life and death for some patients, so it is important to address such a medical error made by doctors and medical staff members. Victims of medical errors such as delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis should understand the legal recourses available to them. A civil action could help the injured patient recover compensation to offset expenses caused by medical bills and damages.

Source: PBS, "Study: Most people will receive a wrong or delayed diagnosis at least once," Lauren Neergaard, Sept. 22, 2015

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