Infections, cancers, and vascular events are some of the common ailments that are misdiagnosed, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. These medical mistakes are dangerous and costly.
In the United States (US), close to 100,000 people reportedly die annually because their treatment was misdiagnosed or they received the treatment late. The team hopes this new information can help doctors better diagnose their patients in order to reduce the high risk that comes with misdiagnosis.
“I think the learning points are that medical professionals need to engage in lifelong learning to ensure their knowledge bases remain current; that careful attention to the patient’s complaints coupled with medical decisions that are based on high-quality evidence is central to avoiding misdiagnosis; and that no matter how advanced is the level of our medical and technical knowledge, mistakes will always happen,” Dr. Edward Damrose, an otolaryngologist and the chief of staff at Stanford Health Care, told a news portal.
Researchers came to this conclusion after examining close to 11,592 diagnostic error cases that took place between 2006 and 2015. Most of the errors, according to their findings, were related to cancers, vascular events, and infections.
While infections can be sometimes challenging to determine, patients need to make quite a few hospital visits to be diagnosed with the right ailment. “The patient presentation [of infection] is widely variable and sometimes indolent with progression over time, making diagnosis from a single physician encounter difficult,” Dr Danielle Bajakian, a vascular surgeon with Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York, told a news portal.
Researcher urge people to carefully choose a healthcare provider that is knowledgeable with your health condition. “If yours is an issue that is rare, often the larger academic institutions have people with specialized expertise that may be better able to deal with your issue,” Dr Anees Chagpar, a breast surgical oncologist with Yale Medicine in Connecticut, told a news portal.
You should also get a second opinion to confirm the test results and your doctor's suggestion. “Interpretation of this data is critical to obtaining a diagnosis, and the radiologists and pathologists at one institution may not always agree with those at another,” Chagpar told a news portal.