How Common are Misdiagnoses in Pennsylvania?

Guest Contributor Stephen J. Pokiniewski, Jr.

Misdiagnosed medical conditions are a “frequent cause of patient injury” according to a recent Pennsylvania Patient Safety Advisory issued by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.    According to the Authority, diagnosis error rates range from 4% to 50% based on autopsy reports reviewed over several decades.

Who is Misdiagnosing Patients?

Every medical specialty has some rate of misdiagnosis.  However, the specialties that rely heavily on visual interpretation of a condition, such as dermatology, have a lower rate of misdiagnosis then other specialties that require doctors to conduct tests and interpret different types of information to come to a diagnosis.

Why Don’t We Hear More About Diagnostic Errors?

According to the Advisory issued by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, diagnostic errors are underemphasized in discussions of patient safety because they are hard to detect.  However, diagnostic errors are much more common than other types of medical malpractice that are often talked about such as obstetric errors and medication errors.

What To Do If You’ve Been Harmed by a Medical Misdiagnosis

If your medical condition has been misdiagnosed because of a doctor’s negligence and you suffered physical harm because of the misdiagnosis then you may be entitled to damages.  Please contact an experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after your injury for more information about your legal rights and potential recovery.