A statement released by the federal Department of Health and Human Services indicates that preventable medical errors cause 200,000 or more deaths every year in Pennsylvania and across the country. The definition of a medical error has improved in recent years and has become more expansive. Generally speaking, medical errors can be divided into two categories.
Medical errors are a leading cause of death in Pennsylvania and worldwide, according to a new report from the World Health Organization. Worse, an overwhelming percentage of these mistakes are likely preventable.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 300,000 Americans, including those living in Pennsylvania, contract Lyme disease each year. However, the tick-borne disease is notoriously hard to detect, meaning that many people can have it without knowing it.
A study conducted by researchers from the Mayo Clinic reveals that about 12 million people in Pennsylvania and around the country are misdiagnosed by their primary care physicians each year. Misdiagnosed patients do not receive the care they need and may suffer additional harm caused by the side effects of unnecessary treatment. However, proving that a doctor acted negligently can be challenging for misdiagnosed patients who choose to pursue legal remedies.
On July 11, the journal Diagnosis published a study saying that 34% of medical malpractice claims involving either serious injuries or death are related to a diagnostic error. Out of 55,377 closed malpractice claims that were filed from 2006 to 2015, 11,592 cited such errors. Pennsylvania residents should know that the three conditions most liable to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis were cancer, vascular events and infection.
In Pennsylvania and across the United States, 33% of medical malpractice lawsuits related to permanent disabilities or death is due to a doctor's misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. A recent Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine study showed that misdiagnosis is the main cause of grave mistakes. Many Americans die in hospitals every year because of misdiagnosis. Plus, approximately 12 million American patients experience diagnostic mistakes.
When Pennsylvania patients experience increased suffering and a worsened health condition after a medical mistake, they may be outraged at the results. However, they may face challenges when they aim to seek compensation for a medical provider that used inaccurate or mistaken treatment methods. Under medical malpractice law, patients must show that the physician or health care professional responsible deviated from the accepted standard of care that he or she had a responsibility to follow. They must also show that this deviation caused the harm from which they then suffered.
Anyone receiving medical care in Pennsylvania has a right to expect medications to be prescribed based on accurate, up-to-date information. Unfortunately, this isn't always what happens. Due to the potential for prescription oversights, a group of physician assistant student researchers recommends that a standardized medication reconciliation training regimen they developed be implemented.
Electronic health records are fraught with usability issues that have proven detrimental to clinical workflow. Moreover, these issues put many patients, especially pediatric patients, at risk for injuries arising from medication errors. Pennsylvania residents should know that ONC is currently drafting voluntary rules for the use of EHRs in pediatric care and that Pew Charitable Trusts, in the effort to inform policymaking, has issued a new report.
Schizophrenia is a very serious mental disorder that is treated with powerful antipsychotic medications. However, a recently conducted study suggests that schizophrenia could be overdiagnosed throughout Pennsylvania and around the country. A research team from Johns Hopkins University came to this conclusion after analyzing the cases of 54 patients who had been sent to a Baltimore clinic after receiving a schizophrenia diagnosis from their doctors. The researchers found that only 26 of them had been properly diagnosed.