Misdiagnosis Can Be Fatal

By Health Ministry |  March 24, 2017

Misdiagnoses Having a healthcare professional misdiagnose an ailment or disease is common. It is a little unnerving to think that the place we go for care can end up being a place that does us harm. Yet, research has found that in 2014, approximately 12 million people may have been wrongly diagnosed. Their findings, recently published in BMJ Quality and Safety, revealed that the annual rate of outpatient diagnostic errors stands at 5.08%,or 1 in 20. The findings also revealed that around 50% of errors "have the potential to lead to severe harm." This means around 6 million outpatients are at risk of experiencing serious health problems as a result of misdiagnosis (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275565.php). Doctors are human and as humans not perfect. They make mistakes that unfortunately can have life or death consequences. For many doctors and their patients, it is walking a thin line to get a diagnosis correct, at times. Often symptoms can be very similar which makes it hard for someone to diagnose the root cause of the problem. Often one disease may look like another, or the symptoms may be the same. In fact, there are a number of common misdiagnoses that occur due to the nonspecificity of the problem. According to a CNN report in 2014, "A lot of symptoms are nonspecific and variable, depending on the person," says Dr. David Fleming, president of the American College of Physicians and a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri. "On top of that, many diagnostic tests are expensive and aren't done routinely, and even then they don't always give us a black and white answer" (http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/26/health/diseasesdoctors-get-wrong/