If you have ever been sick or injured and you’ve sought the help of a doctor or doctors to help you recover, you probably placed your trust in that doctor’s opinions for many different reasons. You appreciated the fact that you were being given information that you desperately wanted in terms of your recovery and you also appreciated the fact that someone was working for the purpose of helping you. You probably never even considered the possibility that your doctor was making a mistake when he or she was diagnosing you, but instead you began to focus on what you needed to do as a patient to get better as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, not enough people ever consider the reality that doctors are like anyone else in that they are human. They go through an intense period of education and training that pushes them to their limits and that weeds out those people who may not be suited for this profession. Regardless, no amount of training or pressure will ever completely eliminate the mistakes that people will make from time to time as they work with patients.
People need to remember this because according to an article that was recently published in a healthcare publication known as the Kaiser Health News, the number of missed diagnoses by doctors is nothing short of shocking. The article gathered statistics from different studies and compiled them in one place. Below are just a few examples of what they found:
- Incorrect or missed diagnoses affect between 10 and 20 percent of medical cases.
- A recent study of 583 diagnostic mistakes revealed that 28 percent of them were life-threatening or they resulted in death or permanent disability.
- Fatal diagnostic errors in American intensive care units are nearly the same in number that kill people because of breast cancer every year, which currently sits at 40,000 people.
These are obviously concerning numbers, facts and statistics for patients and consumers to ponder, as many of us consider our medical professionals to be all but infallible when they are working with us to fight a disease or illness or to overcome an injury.
To make matters worse, the statute of limitations in New York does not work to the favor of patients who are harmed or worse because of a missed diagnosis. That statute of limitations begins to run as soon as the doctor makes a mistake and not when the patient discovers that a mistake has been made. This often leads to otherwise valid legal claims being barred because of this statutory time limit that is imposed on medical malpractice claims.
If you are receiving medical care and you have any doubt as to the accuracy of the advice you’ve been given, you need to act on that suspicion and seek additional opinions. The New York medical malpractice lawyers at The Fitzgerald Law Firm have been representing victims of missed diagnoses for more than 40 years, and we know how difficult it is for people to face serious injuries or death because of mistakes that should have been avoided.