When sick, you rely on medical professionals in Massachusetts to find out what’s wrong with you and prescribe the necessary treatment. Unfortunately, as a recent study has shown, misdiagnoses are far too common in U.S. emergency rooms.
Prevalence of medical misdiagnosis
Researchers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality conducted a large-scale analysis of medical records from January 2000 to September 2021, looking for instances where medical practitioners gave patients incorrect diagnoses during emergency room visits. During that period, they found an average of 7.4 million annual cases of misdiagnosis — accounting for 6% of the estimated 130 million people who go to emergency rooms every year.
Out of the 7.4 million misdiagnosed patients, 370,000 suffered critical harm. For instance, in the study, doctors missed 17% of stroke cases, reporting dizziness and vertigo instead.
Reducing errors for patient safety
As a patient, you can help reduce the risk of misdiagnoses by being vocal about your medical history, including all prior diagnoses and treatments. You should also be sure to ask questions and communicate any issues or concerns that you have with the healthcare provider.
Dealing with medical misdiagnosis in Massachusetts
If you are a victim of medical misdiagnosis, you have the right to seek legal action. A medical malpractice lawsuit can help you recover damages for any mistreatment or neglect you experienced as well as help to hold the negligent party responsible.
To build a strong case, you will need evidence that shows:
- The healthcare provider owed you a duty of care
- The healthcare provider failed to provide proper care
- The failure resulted in harm or injury
- You suffered damages that resulted from the misdiagnosis
The prevalence of medical misdiagnoses serves as a reminder of how important it is to remain vigilant when it comes to patient care — both on the part of patients and healthcare providers alike. By arming yourself with knowledge, asking questions and understanding your rights as a patient, you can reduce the chances of misdiagnoses in Massachusetts and the rest of the U.S.