November 9, 2015

A Misdiagnosis, the Disease Waiting a Cure

A report in the BMJ Quality and Safety Journal states, each year in the U.S. approximately 12 million adults or 1 out of 20 patients who seek outpatient medical care, are misdiagnosed in a way that could cause severe harm.

A new study from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published in September 2015,
confirms these statistics. Doctors apparently are not as careful as they should be. I know this for a fact and fortunately, the error the doctor made was not critical. I had a severe gall bladder attack and all the doctor could think was heart problems.

When I had the second severe gall bladder attack, I went to another hospital and the two doctors had it correctly diagnosed within minutes. They gave me medicine to ease the pain and the following morning, I was given a scan, which showed that they were correct. A month later, I was operated on and my gall bladder removed.

Other patients are often not as lucky and the doctor misdiagnosis results in death.

What does this say about the current level of patient care in the United States? #1. It says that we patients are tolerating a healthcare system where we too often do not experience full disclosure from our clinicians.
#2. It says that our system does not encourage collaboration and communication between healthcare clinicians and patients.
#3. It tells us that us that misdiagnosis is raising the cost of care for all of us.
#4. It says that each of us will face a potentially life threatening situation over the course of our healthcare that could be addressed and reversed if we pay attention.
#5. It says that providers who are in a position to make a diagnosis for a patient, along with the patients and their caretakers or family, need to pay more attention to what is going on.
#6. It tells us that we live with a system that is ill designed to support the diagnostic process because our clinicians are limited by the time they are allowed to spend with each patient.
#7. It tells us that some doctors do not always follow-up with tests and procedures that they have ordered. Even if they follow-up, they are often not provided with adequate feedback about the accuracy of a diagnosis.
#8. It says ours is a culture of care that discourages transparency and disclosure of diagnostic errors, which impedes attempts to correct these problems.

Diagnostic errors are often incredibly harmful to patients, as they may lead to:
  • delays in treatment,
  • lack of treatment,
  • inappropriate, or unnecessary treatment,
These can have physical, psychological, and financial consequences.

Because of the magnitude of the misdiagnosis disease, I urge you to read the full post by Nancy Finn here

1 comment:

Jane said...

Amen to this post Bob! 8 weeks ago I was misdiagnosed and for 2 weeks I walked having a stress fracture in my foot which then fractured. Not until my doctor agreed to send me to an orthopedist was I correctly diagnosed. Much pain and a longer recovery time which interferes with my entire life. I am learning to be more vocal about my care. More of an advocate. You've continually written on that topic too. Keep reminding all of us how important this is. Thanks again for all your work on this blog. I may not write often, but I read it every day.