Medical mistakes could cause harm to patients, and even good doctors are not free from error. While some of these mistakes are not surprising, Arkansas residents might be concerned about some of the ones that doctors make.
Despite advances in diagnostics testing such as sonograms, MRIs and lab tests, the biggest mistake that doctors make is misdiagnosing patients. According to research, physicians initially misdiagnose 15 percent of medical conditions. A 2013 study concluded that the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are acute renal failure, cancer, congestive heart failure, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Another report reveals that about 160,000 patients are hospitalized every year but suffer permanent injury or die because their health care providers misdiagnosed a condition, determined a diagnosis too late or missed the diagnosis altogether.
Another common error is providing treatment to the incorrect patient. If medical staff members fail to determine the identity of a patient correctly, the team could confuse the individual with another patient who has a similar name. Doctors could also prescribe the wrong medications or dosage for patients, particularly if they do not make clear all of the other medications and supplements that they are taking and all of the substances to which they are allergic. Additionally, lack of coordination between doctors could lead to insufficient treatment and overmedication.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that wrong-site surgery can be completely prevented, but doctors sometimes make this mistake. Operations on wrong body parts happen often enough that some insurance companies do not cover it. Leaving surgical tools inside of patients is a surprising error that can cause unexpected pain and damage to unsuspecting patients.
Whether the cause was a misdiagnosis, an oversight of potential drug interactions or a wrong-site surgery, a patient who is injured because of a medical error might be entitled to compensation if negligence was involved. A medical malpractice attorney might use the patient's medical records as well as expert testimony to make the determination that the responsible practitioner or facility failed to exercise the appropriate standard of care.