From Dr. Mercola:
In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that up to 98,000 people die each year due to hospital mistakes. A health advisory committee with IOM has built on this knowledge in a new, yet equally concerning, report released in September 2015.1
Most people will suffer from at least one wrong or delayed medical diagnosis during their lifetime, according to the latest data. Americans experience about 12 million diagnostic errors a year, the IOM report revealed.
Conservatively, the report found that 5 percent of US adults who seek outpatient care will experience a diagnostic error. Further, such errors are thought to contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths and 17 percent of adverse events in hospitals.
They’re also the leading type of paid medical malpractice claims and are nearly twice as likely to have resulted in the patient’s death compared to other claims.
Devastating Diagnostic Mistakes Are Claiming Patients’ Lives
“Getting the right diagnosis is a key aspect of health care: It provides an explanation of a patient’s health problem and informs subsequent health care decisions.
For decades, diagnostic errors — inaccurate or delayed diagnoses — have represented a blind spot in the delivery of quality health care. Diagnostic errors persist throughout all settings of care and continue to harm an unacceptable number of patients,” the IOM report stated.
Diagnostic errors are often incredibly harmful to patients as they may lead to delays in treatment, lack of treatment, inappropriate, or unnecessary treatment. This, in turn, can have physical, psychological, and financial consequences.
Causes are varied but include inadequate communication between physicians and patients, a health care system design that does not support the diagnostic process, limited feedback to clinicians about diagnostic performance, and a health care culture that discourages transparency, so diagnostic mistakes are typically not reported (and not learned from).
Dr. Peter Pronovost, director of the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality at Johns Hopkins, told CNN:2
“It’s probably one of the, if not the, most under-recognized issues in patient safety Much of the harm that we once labeled as inevitable we’re now seeing as preventable.”
CNN noted several examples of diagnostic mistakes included in IOM’s report:3
A 51-year old woman with a family history of heart disease repeatedly asked her doctor’s office to refer her to a cardiologist for a stress test. Three months after her initial request, on the day of her appointment, she died because of significant coronary artery disease. A doctor mistook a blood clot in the lungs of a 33-year old woman for an asthma attack, leading her to her death. An urgent care clinician misread an X-ray and diagnosed a 55-year old man with an upper respiratory infection instead of pneumonia. He died as a result. Doctors at a trauma center decided not to perform a CT scan on a 21-year old stabbing victim and missed a knife wound penetrating several inches into his skull and brain. A newborn baby suffered preventable brain damage when doctors failed to test