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Study exposes the frequency of medical misdiagnosis

When people go to the doctor’s office for an evaluation or because they are sick, they trust that their physician will provide them with an accurate diagnosis. Doctors and nurses are some of the most trusted professionals in Maryland and throughout the country. What people may not realize, however, is that the physician may have made a mistake when determining their condition. Doctors may diagnosis people with the wrong condition or in some cases, can fail to provide patients with a diagnosis at all. As a result, people may be treated for something that they don’t have, or could have their condition worsen as they were never diagnosed in the first place.

According to a study published in BMJ Quality and Safety, at least 12 million people who are seen in outpatient clinics and emergency rooms across the U.S. are misdiagnosed. At least half of these patients are seriously harmed because of this medical negligence, as reported by NBC News. This equates to one out of every 20 patients. These avoidable medical errors cause people to go through needless procedures, surgeries, pain and suffering, all while accumulating medical expenses.

Many people wonder why physicians are misdiagnosing patients at a somewhat alarming rate. Misdiagnosis may be attributed in part to the fact that doctors are often rushed to see a large number of patients each day, and may not spend an adequate amount of time with each patient. Furthermore, some doctors fail to check each patient’s complete medical history before making a final diagnosis. Physicians may inadvertently order the wrong types of screening tests or misread evaluations, which can lead them to the wrong diagnosis as well. 

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