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Three most misdiagnosed conditions also lead most to serious harm

Misdiagnoses are linked to some 40,000 to 80,000 deaths every year in U.S. hospitals, and they may even contribute to between 80,000 and 160,000 serious cases of physical harm every year. Ohio residents should know that the three most frequently misdiagnosed conditions are cancer, vascular events and infections. Researchers from Johns Hopkins found that these three, the "big three," are also linked to many cases of death or disability.

Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing more than 11,000 medical malpractice cases. Their findings have been published in the journal Diagnosis. It turns out that over one third of medical errors that led to death or disability had something to do with cancer. Errors relating to vascular events made up 22% of the cases, and errors relating to infection 13.5%.

Researchers then broke down the three conditions into 15 more specific conditions, classifying them according to the diagnosis "codes" that represent them. The misdiagnosis of lung cancer, stroke and sepsis were discovered to lead to the most harm.

Errors connected to vascular events and infection most often arose in emergency departments while cancer-related errors would often be committed in outpatient settings. Researchers found that most errors were the result of failures in clinical judgment. They suggest that improving diagnostic technology and improving teamwork skills can help prevent such failures.

Many a doctor error is the result of medical negligence, or the failure to adhere to an objective standard of care. Fortunately, victims of such negligence might be able to file a claim and seek compensation for their past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and other applicable losses. Actually filing a malpractice claim and negotiating for a settlement is hard, though, so victims may want legal representation. The lawyer might hire investigators and medical experts for assistance.

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