Patient safety experts focus on diagnostic errors
March 10, 2009 – Medical doctor diagnostic errors (defined as diagnoses that are missed, wrong or delayed) represent a much larger source of preventable health problems and deaths than the more common targets of safety reform, like drug-prescribing errors, wrong-site surgeries and hospital-acquired infections.
Despite the trust patients put in their doctors and hospitals, diagnostic errors account for an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 hospital deaths per year, say Johns Hopkins patient safety experts in the March 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
In the article, David Newman-Toker, M.D., Ph.D., and Peter Pronovost, M.D., Ph.D., also report that tort claims for diagnostic errors are nearly twice as common as claims for medication errors. They theorize that reducing the large volume of diagnostic errors will likely require a focus on larger “system” failures that affect medical practice overall, rather than just blaming individual doctors.
The Johns Hopkins team suggests that diagnostic errors might be reduced by systematically adopting tools, such as:
Small comfort for trusting patients
But whether the large volume of diagnostic errors that lead to thousands of preventable deaths are the fault of system failures or doctor negligence, the current situation doesn’t bode well for patients who trust their lives to today’s medical professionals.
With up to 80,000 hospital deaths per year attributed to medical misdiagnoses, good intentions and risky health systems won’t compensate grieving families without a good lawyer. To receive the fair and proper financial compensation you deserve, contact the personal injury law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg.
Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C. – We’re here for you . . .
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