Diagnostic Errors in Colorado
What Is a Diagnostic Error?
A diagnostic error is any medical diagnosis that is incorrect or delayed,
or fails to diagnose a condition altogether. According to research from
Johns Hopkins University, such errors account for about 29 percent of all
medical malpractice claims. Not only are these types of medical errors common, they are also
incredibly dangerous. Research indicates that more than 40 percent of
diagnostic errors (based on total number of claims filed) resulted in patient
If you or someone you love was injured because of a diagnostic error, you
can speak with a
Colorado Springs personal injury lawyer at our firm. Clawson & Clawson, LLP offers award-winning service medical
malpractice victims from offices in Colorado Springs and the surrounding
Pueblo. Give us a call at (719) 602-5888 to learn how we can help you fight for
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schedule your free consultation!
What Causes Diagnostic Errors?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has addressed the problem
of errors in diagnosing patients and lists four potential reasons why
a doctor might misdiagnose or fail to diagnose their patient.
- Biased diagnosis: Sometimes this is referred to as the error of availability
heuristic. This involves a doctor diagnosing a patient purely based on
experience with similar past cases.
- Relying too heavily on initial impressions: Some doctors can ignore subsequent
evidence and lean too heavily on the results of preliminary testing.
- "Framing effects" also describes a biased diagnosis. This error
occurs when doctors rely too heavily on peripheral information.
- Blindly relying on expert opinion: While opinion from other experts in
the field can be helpful, relying too heavily on this when diagnosing
a patient can result in error.
Most diagnostic errors can be prevented. While some medical conditions
are difficult to diagnose, doctors still have a duty to their patient
to follow regulated screening/diagnostic guidelines so that an accurate
diagnosis can be made in a reasonable amount of time. This can help prevent
a great deal of complications including
birth injuries and
Statistics on diagnostic errors may not be entirely accurate or complete.
This is due in large part because there is no standardized way for hospitals
and healthcare practitioners to report these types of errors. Although
data can be compiled based on the total number of medical malpractice
lawsuits, this only provides a limited view into diagnostic errors because
many patients/victims do not file lawsuits.
Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions
According to AARP, five conditions account for more than 30 percent of
all failed diagnoses in intensive care units. Those are:
- Heart attack
- Pulmonary embolism
- Abdominal bleeding
Aside from serious medical events that can go without a proper diagnosis
in the ICU, there are many other patients throughout the United States
who suffer from diseases that have been incorrectly diagnosed. Without
a correct diagnosis, these patients are going without the medication and
treatment that could improve their conditions. Autoimmune diseases and
infections such as Lyme's disease, Lupus and fibromyalgia are some
common examples of frequently misdiagnosed diseases. Some conditions have
symptoms that are very similar to others, and make them difficult to diagnose properly.
Work with a Seasoned Colorado Springs Injury Lawyer
Since the 1980s, diagnostic errors have cost the medical industry billions
of dollars due to patient injury and wrongful death lawsuits. If you were
a victim of an incorrect diagnosis, you too may be able to file a claim
for compensation against your healthcare provider or doctor. Clawson &
Clawson, LLP Colorado Springs personal injury attorneys are prepared to
handle all types of medical malpractice claims.
To learn more or to secure a
free evaluation of your case, please
contact our law firm today!