When patients are admitted to the hospital, there is a level of trust placed in the medical professionals caring for them as well as the medical facility they are being treated at. Most believe they are in good hands because what place is safer than a hospital for a patient that is suffering from an injury, ailment or disease.
Unfortunately, a patient’s stay at a hospital could be the very reason they suffer further medical issues or even die due to medical complications. This is because diagnostic errors could occur, resulting in improper or the wrong medical care and treatment.
Diagnostic errors in hospitals
Based on a recent study, it was found that nearly a fourth of hospitalized patients that either died or were later transferred to the ICU experienced a diagnostic error. Furthermore, this study found that in most of these cases, the diagnostic error caused harm.
This new study has not only shed light on the risks patients face while being hospitalized, but it also illustrates how common human errors made in medicine are and how often they harm and even kill patients. It further pointed out that delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses are far more common than one would think.
What wasn’t established in this study was whether there are certain patients or specific conditions that are more prone to missed or incorrect diagnoses. As such, the study poses the idea that physicians with higher workloads or those caring from certain types of patients might be more likely to make diagnostic errors.
Prevention and legal rights
Thanks to the recent pandemic, critical lessons have been learned when it comes to mounting an effective response. It was found that continued dissemination of both data and patient stories help motivate prevention-oriented behaviors and policies. A solution being studied is termed the diagnostic pause. It is exactly what it sounds like. It requires a clinician to take sort of a timeout to review checklists to ensure any tests weren’t missed or overlooked, consult with colleagues and take an additional look at the patient’s medical history. This process gives the medical provider time to think and reduce the chances of diagnostic errors.
A diagnostic error is an unfortunate event for any patient, especially when it causes harm or even their death. As such, it is important to be aware of your rights when it comes to filing a medical malpractice action. A legal professional can help you better understand this civil suit as well as the damages and losses you could recover.