Diagnostic Mistakes: How often do we face them and how to deal with them

Diagnostic Mistakes

Diagnostic Mistakes

Diagnostic mistakes are often associated with malpractice claims and adverse events that can be avoided by healthcare providers. A worse situation is when it causes injury or harm to patients and indirect damages to the immediate family. Patients can file lawsuits against the medical personnel involved

Medical professionals don’t need to dwell on the fact that they can make diagnostic mistakes. They need to understand the consequences of such mistakes and know how to deal with them.

Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis

This is one of the most common and costly diagnostic mistakes in the healthcare industry. Sometimes it may be difficult to tell what is causing pain or illness. These challenges of failure of a medical expert to pay attention to their work can cause misdiagnosis.

If a misdiagnosis happens, the patient could fail to get the right treatment for their condition. For instance, if a doctor attempts to cure pneumonia instead of curing tuberculosis, this could have devastating effects. A delayed diagnosis can affect the patient’s well-being or make worsen the situation.

Delayed diagnosis is one of the most serious mistakes that can occur in the medical field. 40,000-80,000 people die annually from diagnostic failures in hospitals in the U.S. Such errors affect millions of people globally and some of the patients who survive often get other medical complications.

To deal with such mistakes, medical practitioners should improve the timeliness and accuracy of diagnosis. This can help to reduce the costs associated with wrong treatments, inappropriate testing, and malpractice lawsuits.

Surgical errors

Surgical errors are also common because surgeries are very delicate. Situations such as leaving instruments and tools in a patient’s body can occur. A surgeon can also operate the wrong body organ. These mistakes are preventable and can lead to lawsuits against the personnel involved or the hospital.

Injuries as a result of surgical errors can be serious and may require the patients to undergo lifelong treatment and care. This error can leave the patient and their loved ones traumatized.

According to an experienced medical essay writer, surgical errors often occur due to incompetence or improper planning. If a surgeon does not have the necessary skills and training needed to operate on patients or they are not experienced enough, they are bound to make such mistakes. Failure to plan for the procedure, human errors, influence of drugs, miscommunication, and fatigue can also lead to such mistakes.

To avoid such mistakes, the medical personnel should take time to prepare for the surgery and avoid performing surgery when tired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They should also communicate effectively with their assistants to ensure that the procedure goes on smoothly.

Missed diagnosis during prenatal care

Missed diagnosis occurs where a patient is considered healthy while they are suffering from a disease. Proper medical care during child development is important for a healthy mother and the child. Poor prenatal care can lead to serious long-term complications for the child and the mother. In some cases, it can lead to the baby’s death.

A doctor should be able to diagnose and foresee any problem with the mother or the unborn child. For instance, a physician who fails to recognize a mother’s distress should be held responsible if the mother dies during childbirth. If a physician fails to foresee complications during pregnancy and delivery, the oversight may lead to cerebral palsy, tragic brain injury, paralysis, and overall mental retardation.

If you are accused of any kind of medical negligence and failing to provide quality prenatal support, you may be exposed to a medical malpractice lawsuit. Physicians should anticipate potential complications during childbirth and know how to avoid them. Injuries during birth can traumatize the mother and the child.

Cognitive errors

Cognitive biases are systematic errors that can influence a physician’s judgment and decision-making. Such errors lead to inaccurate diagnoses, patient physical harm, and possible lawsuits.

Issues that may lead to cognitive errors include:

  • Narrow diagnostic focus
  • Clinical studies misinterpretation
  • Overreliance on past diagnosis
  • Failure to obtain referrals
  • Inadequate testing
  • Failure to assess the patient’s condition well

Cognitive bias should not make a doctor or any medical practitioner be judged wrongly. It is considered normal, especially in situations where a person is required to make a professional judgment.

Cognitive biases in the medical field are rarely discussed and yet it is serious and can cause injuries and death. Doctors often have anchoring biases where they tend to rely on one source of information or idea when making decisions.

The medical practitioners also make wishful thinking biases where they believe in what they consider to be true. This may cause them to underestimate the risks associated with some medical conditions. The physicians should familiarize themselves with these biases and how to avoid them to decrease the chances of their occurrence. Education strategies can effectively improve diagnostic outcomes.

Failure to recognize medical complications

This occurs when a physician makes the right diagnosis but does not identify complications of factors in a patient that may accelerate the condition or illness. The doctor may fail to interpret tests well and this may lead to a mistake causing further complications for the patient. Worse still, they may diagnose the main disease properly but be unable to diagnose a related one.

When a doctor fails to identify medical complications, this may lead to delayed responses in dealing with those complications. Such complications may cause physical damages to the patient’s body and, in some severe cases, death.

One of the most effective ways of preventing this mistake is by communicating effectively with the patients during the treatment process. The physicians should also coordinate with lab personnel and other support staff to exchange ideas that can help them to identify potential complications.

Conclusion

Diagnostic mistakes often occur in the medical field, most of which can be avoided. Medical practitioners should anticipate such mistakes and develop appropriate strategies to deal with them. Since the diagnostic mistakes pose health risks to the patients affected, the medical professionals need to collaborate to create long-term solutions.

About the author

Susanna Balashova is a talented marketing professional who has experience working with reputed companies. She is a class performer and loves to share her knowledge and tips with college students as an online essay writer through dissertation writing services. Reach out to her on Twitter or Linkedin.

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