If you are similar to many other Americans who seek medical attention in an emergency room or outpatient clinic setting, you expect to be treated by qualified professionals who will find out what is wrong with you and create some sort of treatment plan. Although this is the expected outcome of most doctors office visits, things do not always go as planned. A surprising number of people are misdiagnosed or do not receive a diagnosis at all after been seen in these types of medical settings.
A study published in BMJ Quality & Safety found that every year, at least 12 million people receive the wrong diagnosis from outpatient clinics and emergency rooms. At least six million of these patients are harmed because of the medical negligence. The numbers are arguably higher, as some people may not even know that they have been misdiagnosed yet.
How does this happen? These medical settings are notoriously chaotic environments, where patients may be seen by different doctors and staff members. Physicians often do not have sufficient time to spend with each patient, making it hard to get a clear picture as to what is going on. Doctors may not have a comprehensive medical history of the patient. Furthermore, physicians could inadvertently order the wrong types of tests that fail to show the actual problem.
As a result of this medical negligence, patients may be forced to undergo treatments or take medication for a condition that they do not have. While the wrong condition is being treated, the actual illness may worsen or put the patient’s life in danger.
This information should be used for educational purposes and not taken as legal advice.