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Misdiagnoses are a Big Problem, Especially in Pediatric Care

Misdiagnoses affect the majority of Americans, but children appear to be at the greatest risk.

According to a recent study, misdiagnoses are so common that most Americans will suffer from one at least once in their lives, the Effingham Daily News reports. The study's authors say that diagnostic errors are still poorly understood and that they will require a major overhaul in how hospitals and health care facilities are run in order to properly address. Errors may be particularly common when diagnosing children, with misdiagnoses accounting for a majority of medical malpractice cases against pediatricians.

A Misunderstood Problem

While there has been plenty of research into many types of hospital errors over the years, such as surgical mistakes and medication errors, tracking diagnostic errors has proven much more difficult. The reason is because many errors go unreported or undetected. Some diagnostic errors may not lead to any harm to the patient who has been misdiagnosed, for example, and so they are often not reported. Not reporting even harmless misdiagnoses, however, presents a problem as it makes it more difficult to identify how misdiagnoses happen in the first place, thus making it harder to avoid more serious diagnostic errors from occurring in the future.

According to one estimate, 12 million Americans adults are affected by a misdiagnosis every year. Such a high figure means that the majority of Americans will suffer from a diagnostic error at least once over the course of their lives. The report also states that in order to bring down rates of misdiagnoses, the workplace culture of health care facilities needs to change. Many patients, nurses, and other medical assistants, for example, are often hesitant about challenging a physician's conclusions, worrying that such a challenge will undermine his or her authority.

Diagnostic Errors Among Children

Perhaps most concerning is that diagnostic errors may be even higher among children patients. According to The Atlantic, about 61 percent of medical malpractice suits brought against pediatricians involve misdiagnoses. Misdiagnoses account for a greater share of medical malpractice suits against pediatricians than they do among any other medical specialist group.

Research still needs to be done to determine just how prevalent diagnostic errors involving children actually are since current research is largely limited to misdiagnoses involving adult patients. Nonetheless, because children have a far more difficult time articulating their symptoms and because they may not be able to recognize an ailment or condition as being abnormal, it seems likely that diagnostic errors would be higher among younger patients.

Accurate diagnoses are a critical function of a physician's practice of medicine. Failure to reach a correct diagnosis can lead to catastrophic circumstances for the patient. Patients who have been injured as a result of a misdiagnosis or other medical error should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to discuss their legal rights.

Client Reviews
Shawn Collins is a very talented lawyer, as are all the attorneys on his team. I've known and worked with Shawn for more that 30 years. Not only is he a top notch technical litigator but his communication skills are second to none. If anyone I know is ever in need of an attorney, Shawn is my very first recommendation. He gives very solid advice that goes beyond the law. He is someone you can trust to tell you the truth so you are not lead astray in the complex legal world. You really can't find a better advocate. E.M.
We were incredibly satisfied with our experience with The Collins Law Firm. We worked closely with Ed Manzke and found that he had a personal touch and truly got to know us in addition to being knowledgeable and effective in his field. The caring and individual attitude helped us tremendously throughout the entire process and we always felt like our case was in safe hands. We would highly recommend The Collins Law Firm for both its stellar work and dedicated employees. M.A.
My father recommended The Collins Law Firm to me after watching Shawn Collins and Ed Manzke at trial representing Lisle residents against Lockformer. For years, he told us courtroom tales about Shawn and Ed, citing their incredible skill as trial lawyers and how they put the huge Lockformer legal team to shame. So when my son was the victim of a wrongful death, they were my first and only choice. I can't say enough to truly express how grateful I am to The Collin's Law Firm for all that they did for me and my family. This amazing team advocated for me in my darkest moments, surpassing my expectations in every way. I will be forever grateful to Shawn and Ed. K.D.
I have worked with Rob, Shawn and The Collins Law Firm team in connection with both complex business transactions and litigation over the past several years. Shawn is far and away the best business litigation attorney I have worked with. Rob has been our lead attorney on M&A and corporate restructures, and he has delivered each time, and on time. I would highly recommend Rob to get the deal done! W.D.
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