Medical malpractice in Albany can take many different forms and occur in different settings, and various types of healthcare providers can be liable for the harm. Patients can suffer injuries as a result of medical negligence when they visit a primary care provider, when they seek quick care in an urgent care facility, when they see a specialist, when they visit a laboratory for tests, when they have a surgical procedure, when they are transported to an emergency department by a first responder, and more. At any stage of the health care process, a health care provider can make a mistake that can harm a patient. Some medical errors are significantly more serious than others. When patients go to emergency rooms with debilitating systems, it is critical to receive an accurate and timely diagnosis. However, according to a recent article in The New York Times, emergency room physicians often “fail to recognize serious conditions like stroke and sepsis in tens of thousands of patients each year.”
What do you need to know about medical errors in emergency rooms in relation to the recent report? And what should you do if you or a loved one suffered harm because of a missed diagnosis in an emergency department?
Hundreds of Thousands of Injuries Result from Emergency Room Misdiagnosis
The article in The New York Times discusses a recent study released by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which reported that “roughly 7.4 million people are inaccurately diagnosed of the 130 million annual visits to hospital emergency departments in the United States,” and “some 370,000 patients pay suffer serious harm as a result.” This information was based on an analysis of data gathered over the course of about 20 years in emergency departments. Its aim was to understand the rate of diagnostic errors that occur in emergency rooms, noting that emergency departments are places “where doctors are most likely to make a mistake.”
Most often, missed diagnoses or misdiagnoses resulted from patients appearing with “symptoms that are not typical.” For example, the article cited stroke patients appearing in emergency departments and reporting that they were experiencing vertigo-like symptoms or “complaining the room is spinning,” or younger female heart attack victims being misdiagnosed after reporting shortness of breath. According to Dr. David E. Newman-Toker, a Johns Hopkins University neurologist who also directs the university’s Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic excellence, these types of diagnostic errors are “the elephant in the room no one is paying attention to.” Newman-Toker was one of the authors of the recent AHRQ study.
Certain Patients Are More Likely to Be Misdiagnosed in Emergency Rooms
The study emphasizes that certain patients are more likely to be misdiagnosed in emergency rooms than others. More specifically, “women and people of color had a roughly 20 to 30 percent higher risk of being misdiagnosed.” Accordingly, it is important to reconsider how women and people of color who present certain symptoms in emergency rooms are treated so that their care can be improved.
It is also important to focus on “when doctors tend to miss a crucial diagnosis” and what those crucial diagnoses are, according to the article. Indeed, the article emphasizes that “doctors have become much better at detecting heart attacks because of a concerted effort involving public health campaigns, better diagnostic testing, and collaboration between cardiologists and emergency medicine doctors.” At the same time, when emergency rooms are overcrowded and doctors have to “make a quick decision about what is wrong with a patient, the issue of misdiagnosis is a common problem among all doctors.”
When a doctor does make a mistake and a patient suffers harm, it is essential for the patient or their family to learn more about filing a medical malpractice claim. It may be possible to hold the specific emergency room physician accountable for a diagnostic error, as well as the facility where the misdiagnosis occurred.
Contact an Albany Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
Were you misdiagnosed in an emergency department in Albany, or was a loved one misdiagnosed? If a misdiagnosis resulted in harm, it may be possible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor and the facility in Albany where the misdiagnosis occurred. One of the experienced Albany medical malpractice lawyers at our firm can talk with you today to learn more about your case and to discuss your options for seeking financial compensation. Contact Powers & Santola, LLP in Albany to find out more about how we can assist you with your medical malpractice claim.