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How common are diagnostic errors?

The first professional Wilmington residents usually see when they are ill or injured is their doctor. They rely on physicians to properly evaluate their symptoms, complaints, test results and medical history to diagnose their conditions and provide treatment. No one goes to the hospital, medical office or emergency room with the expectation that the health care workers they rely on will make diagnostic mistakes that ultimately cause them harm. 

According to CBS News, each year, approximately 12 million patients are victims of diagnostic errors. It is important for patients to receive the right diagnosis. When medical errors occur that result in patients receiving the wrong procedures, treatments and surgery, the consequences are often catastrophic. It is not uncommon for people to die after their physicians drop the ball and do not follow proper protocol with their patients. Common medical mistakes that are often the result of diagnostic mistakes include surgical errors and medication identification and administration problems. 

Mistakes in the medical field are dangerous. Annually, they are the cause of more than 160,000 permanent injuries and deaths, states Forbes. People who seek outpatient care are more likely to experience diagnostic errors than inpatients. 

Doctors, nurses and other health care workers see many patients each day. They are overworked, their facilities are understaffed and they are under enormous pressure to meet the demands of their positions. Regardless of why diagnostic errors occur, they should not happen. Proper follow-up care and professional second opinions instead of blindly trusting physicians can help patients to avoid the consequences of diagnostic errors.




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