Government Study Showing Widespread ER Misdiagnosis Isn’t Surprising
BALTIMORE, Dec. 19, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- As reported by CNN and The New York Times, a new study by the Department of Health and Human Services found that among the 130 million emergency room visits in the country each year, 7.4 million patients are misdiagnosed, 2.6 million suffer harm, and 370,000 are permanently disabled or die as a result.
As staggering as those numbers may seem, they should not be surprising. This is just the latest in a series of studies to demonstrate the prevalence of medical errors and their consequences in the United States.
The landmark To Err is Human study, published in 1999 by the Institute of Medicine, estimated annual error-related hospital deaths at as many as 98,000. Later studies published by the Journal of Patient Safety and Dr. Martin Makary at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found even higher estimates of avoidable deaths. The Hopkins study found that medical errors accounted for more deaths than any other cause, except for heart disease and cancer.
At Janet, Janet & Suggs, we have a long history of representing patients who were severely injured because of misdiagnosis, with some of the worst occurring in ERs. In one case, a patient arrived with severe neck pain, but a thorough diagnostic work up was not performed. Instead, they gave him pain medication and discharged him with instructions to return if he experienced further pain. The medication merely masked his underlying condition. After it wore off, he returned with the very same symptoms he had experienced before. This time, they uncovered an infection that had caused the neck pain all along and had worsened significantly. The missed diagnosis and delayed treatment caused him to become a quadriplegic. This demonstrates just one potential result of misdiagnosis.
The new study’s findings confirm the scale of misdiagnosis that patients now face. We must hold hospitals accountable for the results of their negligence.
About Andrew S. Janet:
Andrew S. Janet is a partner at Janet, Janet & Suggs, a national law firm noted for its accomplishments in cases involving medical malpractice and other high-stakes matters. The firm has won over $3 billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for its clients, including record-breaking wins against some of the country’s largest institutions. More information about the firm is available here.
Contact: Sandra Colclough
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