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Physicians misdiagnose 20 percent of serious health conditions, study says

On Behalf of | Dec 1, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

More than 20 percent of medical patients who pursue second opinions after hearing they have serious conditions find that their doctors misdiagnosed them during their first visits, according to a Mayo Clinic study. A total of 286 patients participated in the study, and they ranged in age from 15 to 80 years old.

The study found another 66 percent of those who sought treatment from primary care providers found that their diagnoses needed updating, meaning the diagnoses were at least somewhat incorrect. Only 12 percent of patients told they had serious afflictions received accurate diagnoses from their general practitioners.

When doctors make diagnostic errors, patients may have to undergo unnecessary and expensive medical treatments they do not need. Incorrect diagnoses may also prevent people from receiving the medical care they actually need, which may have a serious impact on a person’s prognosis.

Statistics regarding diagnostic errors

Per some estimates, diagnostic errors affect about 5 percent of all patients who pursue outpatient care. If your doctor misdiagnoses you, it may lead to serious hardship.

Research indicates that diagnostic errors contribute to somewhere between 6 percent and 17 percent of all adverse events that take place in American hospitals. Studies also show that these mistakes play a role in about 10 percent of all patient deaths.

Benefits of second opinions

When your doctor diagnoses you with something serious, consider seeking a second opinion, because medical misdiagnosis happens far more often than it should.

Seeking a second opinion after an initial diagnosis helps protect your health by enhancing the chances of you receiving the correct treatment for your condition.

A second opinion may also save you money, because it could help you catch the real problem early enough to receive minimally invasive medical treatment.