Incorrect Diagnosis in the Emergency Room

Incorrect Diagnosis in the Emergency RoomBecoming ill and needing to visit the emergency room at the hospital is a very stressful situation. However, when an individual receives an incorrect diagnosis from this visit, they may experience additional worries and frustrations as they now have undergone improper treatments, taken unnecessary medicines, and have medical bills for an illness they did not have.

The Kennewick medical malpractice attorneys at Telaré Law understand the difficulties that an incorrect diagnosis can bring to your life.

Statistics on emergency room incorrect diagnoses

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), there are around 130 million emergency room (ER) visits in America each year. Out of these visits, close to six percent of patients receive an incorrect diagnosis in the hospital ER, and around two percent of these patients experience an adverse event from their incorrect diagnosis.

When looking at the statistics, they translate to about one in 18 patients in the emergency room receiving an incorrect diagnosis, and one in 50 patients experiencing an adverse event due to their incorrect diagnosis.

The most common incorrectly diagnosed conditions in the emergency room

We have helped various clients around Kennewick who have been incorrectly diagnosed in emergency rooms. Some incorrect diagnoses are more common than others, which include the following:

1.       Stroke

A stroke occurs when there is not enough blood supply going to your brain. It prevents brain tissue from getting the proper nutrients and oxygen that it needs. When an individual is experiencing a stroke, their brain cells can die within minutes. This is a very serious medical emergency that needs treatment right away to prevent brain damage. However, per the AHRQ, strokes are missed about 17% of the time in emergency departments.

2.       Myocardial Infarction

A myocardial infarction is another word for heart attack. When an individual is not getting enough blood flow to their heart or it becomes blocked, a heart attack usually occurs. This is a potentially  deadly emergency that needs to be treated as quickly as possible.

3.       Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection

An aortic aneurysm is when there is a bulge in the aorta blood vessel. This affects the blood flowing from the heart to the body. There are two different types of aortic aneurysms, which are the abdominal aortic aneurysm and the thoracic aortic aneurysm.

4.       Spinal Cord Compression or Injury

A spinal cord compression or injury occurs when an individual has damage to their spinal cord. When these injuries happen, the individual will most likely experience permanent change to their strength and sensation below the injury.

5.       Venous Thromboembolism

A venous thromboembolism is sometimes referred to as a deep vein thrombosis. This condition occurs when an individual has a blood clot in one or more of their deep veins. It is usually common in the legs and can cause swelling and pain. If not caught in time, the clots could break loose and make their way to the lungs or other important organs.

What are the consequences of an incorrect diagnosis?

Patients who have been misdiagnosed will most likely experience financial, mental, physical, and medical consequences. Here are a few of the consequences that our clients commonly experience:

  • The illness or disease they have becomes worse.
  • Individuals undergo medical treatments and surgeries for conditions they did not actually have.
  • Individuals experience terrible side effects from medications for the wrong illness or disease.
  • Their time is wasted trying to get the treatment needed to make them better.
  • Medical bills and other costs begin accumulating.
  • Anxiety and stress also increase.
  • They are given false hope that their sickness or disease will be cured or properly treated.

Some patients who are incorrectly diagnosed do not survive. Many patients may not have the time to seek other medical options once they have been misdiagnosed. Our Kennewick lawyers know the grief and heartache this causes for the family left behind, which is why we are glad to help you with a wrongful death claim if needed.

Why do incorrect diagnoses happen?

Some of the most common reasons why incorrect diagnoses happen include:

  • Some illnesses and diseases have similar symptoms. A lot of illnesses mock the same symptoms of other illnesses. For example, lymphoma may look like the common cold virus.
  • The necessary tests were not ordered. Doctors do not take the time to order the proper tests to see what could be causing the patient’s issues.
  • ERs across the country are overworked and understaffed. Physicians and nurses spend their shifts running back and forth between multiple patients, which could result in them providing inadequate attention to each person.
  • The test results are misread. When doctors do order tests, they must pay close attention to make sure they do not miss something when interpreting them.
  • Patients are not fully listened to, and their important information is not collected. The medical staff is supposed to listen to your symptoms, medical history, family history, and more. However, if they fail to get this information, it could result in a misdiagnosis.
  • Small medical errors can lead to big issues. When a doctor or nurse mixes up records, misplaces important patient information, does not find out what the patient is allergic to, or uses defective machines, these small errors could lead to very big issues.

If you have experienced suffering because of an incorrect diagnosis, Telaré Law is here to help you. Our team is committed to holding the medical providers accountable for medical malpractice as we believe no one should have to suffer from a misdiagnosis. We provide legal services to clients in Kennewick as well as Richland. Call our office, or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation today.