The old business adage “if you are in business long enough, you are likely to be sued” may have some truth to it. Depending on the industry and complexity of the business, mistakes can and will be made. At the same time, the health industry has some of the same risks; especially when it comes to diagnosing ailments and conditions. According to a recent report, because of the sheer number diagnoses and the complexity of delivering care within the current system, it is only a matter of time before a critical mistake is made.
The Institute of Medicine’s report outlines a system wide problem, which includes surgical centers, outpatient facilities as well as doctors’ offices. This means that medical negligence is not confined to hospital errors and surgical mistakes; which is what is often reported in the media.
Additionally, the exact number of mistakes with regard to diagnoses is unknown, but it is estimated that diagnostic mistakes affect more than 12 million adults each year. This likely contributes to the number of deaths experienced in hospitals each year as well. What’s worse, the data on diagnostic mistakes is quite sparse, which makes potential improvements to health care delivery problematic.
Because of this, holding physicians and assistants accountable for failing to use reasonable care is arguably one of the best ways to assure that patients are protected. If you believe that you have been harmed through diagnostic errors and need to know what your rights and options are, having a conversation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney is the first step.