The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine reports that “every nine minutes, someone in a U.S. hospital dies due to a medical diagnosis that was wrong or delayed.” According to the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), one in ten diagnoses are incorrect and most
people will experience an incorrect diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. A diagnostic error is defined as the failure to (a) establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient’s health problem(s) or (b) communicate that explanation to the patient.
The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine (SIDM) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that established the Coalition to Improve Diagnosis in 2015, “to increase awareness and actions that improve diagnosis. Members of the Coalition represent hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers and patients—and the leading health organizations and government agencies involved in patient care. Together, we work to find solutions that enhance diagnostic safety and quality, reduce harm, and ultimately, ensure better health outcomes for patients.” The Coalition is a collaboration of more than 40 leading healthcare organizations focused on ensuring that diagnoses are accurate, communicated and timely. The Coalition members represent doctors, nurses, testing professionals, patients and their families, employers, researchers, policymakers, educators and leading health organizations and government agencies involved in patient care.
SIDM reports that roughly one in ten patients with a serious disease is initially misdiagnosed, and diagnostic errors affect an estimated 12 million Americans each year and likely cause more harm to patients than all other medical errors combined. Missed diagnoses also lead to higher healthcare costs through treatment of sicker patients with more advanced disease; by overuse of unnecessary, expensive diagnostic tests; as a consequence of malpractice claims; and with the high costs of treatments for diseases patients do not actually have.
Some have estimated that $100 billion or more may be wasted annually in the United States as a result of inaccurate diagnosis. An estimated 40,000 to 80,000 people die each year from diagnostic failures in U.S. hospitals alone, and probably at least that many suffer permanent disability. The total across all clinical settings is likely much higher.
Diagnostic error is the number one cause of medical malpractice claims in primary care disciplines, emergency medicine, radiology, and most of the medical sub-specialties. Misdiagnosis is most common in primary care and emergency medicine, partly because there are so many visits to these settings but also because patients are seen early on in an evolving disease process (when their symptoms may be less obvious and underlying diseases harder to diagnose). Diagnostic error is the number two cause of medical malpractice claims in surgical specialties.
If you or a loved one may be the victim of medical malpractice in the United States, you should promptly consult with a medical malpractice lawyer in your state who may investigate your medical malpractice claim for you and represent you or your family member in a medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
Click here to visit our website to be connected with medical malpractice attorneys in your state who may assist you with your medical malpractce claim, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959.
Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.