On behalf of Hastings Law Firm posted in Doctor Errors on Tuesday, April 22, 2014.

A misdiagnosis for a condition or illness can result in potentially serious harm, especially if the wrong medications are involved. A recent study by Texas researchers revealed that the rate of physician error when it comes to a misdiagnosis is strikingly high. In the U.S., about 12 million adults will receive a misdiagnosis for their condition.

The researchers ultimately set out to try to determine the rate of diagnostic errors in medical settings like clinics and doctors’ offices. The lead author for the study noted that there is indeed a problem when it comes to the accuracy of diagnosing nearly 1 in 20 adult patients. Since most diagnoses are made in outpatient clinics, such as the office of a family practitioner or a specialist, the researchers urge that action should be taken to combat the high rate of misdiagnosed individuals.

The number of patients who received a misdiagnosis was computed by combining data from previous studies. What they ended up with was nearly 3,000 sets of medical records to review. All in all, the rate of misdiagnosis was found to be over 5 percent. But researchers didn’t stop there, and noted that potential faults in medical records could actually mean a higher misdiagnosis rate.

Receiving a misdiagnosis can be particularly dangerous for a Texas patient. Certain illnesses and conditions require specific medication, and when the wrong medication is administered or the correct one withheld due to a physician error, significant harm can occur to an individual. For those who have been harmed due to a misdiagnosis, a medical malpractice claim might be a good first step toward gaining legal and financial recourse for any injury that was subsequently suffered.

Source: Inter Aksyon, “About 12 million U.S. outpatients misdiagnosed annually”, Curtis Skinner, April 18, 2014