Intellectual Property, Business Law, Personal Injury

DIAGNOSTIC ERRORS IN THE INTENSIVE CARE UNIT

A patient is often at his or her greatest time of need when in the intensive care unit of a hospital. A recently conducted study examined the treatment given to these patients and found unfavorable results. All patients and family members need to remain alert and be aware of the dangers faced by ICU patients.

The Study

The study was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. In this study, there was a review of 30 international papers that examined autopsy results of past patients. The study found that as many as 40,500 deaths in ICUs were the result of a misdiagnosis on the part of critical care teams working at the hospital.

These statistics boil down to mean that about one out of every four, or 28 percent, of ICU patient deaths are the result of a diagnostic error. The autopsies do help point to the errors health care providers made, but that is little comfort to the loved ones of those who passed on as a result of misdiagnosis. Hospitals must focus on the diagnostics when the patients enter the door and create strategies to reduce diagnostic errors.

Dangers of Errors

There are several types of common errors that the reports found. These include misdiagnosed heart attacks and misdiagnosed fungal infections. In both of these situations the doctors believed the problem was something else and treated the wrong area. Doing so harms the patient and may eventually lead to their death. These infections and vascular conditions are connected to three fourths of the fatal errors.

Holding Negligent Doctors Accountable

When a patient has an issue, they go to the doctor and rely on that doctor's expertise to save them. There are times when a doctor makes a wrong call and patient is the one to suffer. When a doctor does not meet the ordinary standard of care found in the profession, the doctor is negligent. For example, a doctor may display negligence when he or she is too tired on the job, or handling too many patients at one time. If a patients suspects a doctor was negligent, the patient is not without remedy.

Patients or patient families suspecting negligence as a reason for misdiagnosis should take legal means in order to receive the compensation they justly deserve. Experienced personal injury attorneys work with patients and/or their families and help them receive damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and other applicable costs. Setting up a meeting with a personal injury lawyer is a first step on the way to recovery and makes for a much smoother process.

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