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Study finds ‘big three’ linked to most misdiagnosis claims

A new study estimates that medical misdiagnosis kills between 40,000 and 80,000 Americans each year, including many living in Georgia. The report, which was recently published in the journal Diagnosis, also claims that diagnosis errors might cause serious harm to another 80,000 to 160,000 people annually.

To get a clearer picture of America’s misdiagnosis problem, researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore analyzed more than 11,000 U.S. misdiagnosis cases and divided them into general medical categories, including cancers and vascular events. It is believed to be the first study to categorize misdiagnosis cases in this way.

The study found that a “surprisingly small number” of diseases and conditions account for the vast majority of misdiagnosis cases. Specifically, the researchers discovered that almost 75% of medical errors causing serious harm occurred in just three areas: cancers, vascular events and infections. Of those categories, dubbed “the big three,” cancers were linked to over a third of the cases, vascular issues were linked 22% and infections were linked to 13.5%. The leading misdiagnosed conditions in each of those categories were lung cancer, stroke and sepsis. Other top misdiagnosed conditions included heart attacks, meningitis, pneumonia, blood clots of the lung or in the legs, skin cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer.

Victims of misdiagnosis might wish to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor and hospital responsible for the mistake. By working with a personal injury attorney, it might be possible to prove the medical professionals involved failed to provide the necessary standard of care, making them legally liable for the victim’s losses. If the lawsuit is successful, the victim might be awarded a financial settlement that covers his or her medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, mental anguish and other related damages.