About one in ten diagnoses are wrong. This leads to a number of problems for medical professionals as their patients potentially receive the wrong treatment, unnecessary treatment, or even no treatment at all for diseases or conditions that could prove fatal. As you might have guessed, the cost of misdiagnosis is staggering. In one case, a jury recently awarded a whopping $4.2 million to a young woman who should have been diagnosed with kidney failure, but was not.
Lacey Povrzenich is 22, but eight years ago she needed a kidney transplant. This was only after a battery of medical tests should have indicated impending kidney failure. Blood work was ordered by Dr. Dawn McCracken. Although multiple readings indicated that Lacey had abnormally high blood pressure, there was no followup to determine the cause.
Two weeks after a May 2010 visit, Lacey ended up in Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh with end-stage renal failure. Her mother donated the kidney which she was to receive.
The massive award doesn’t just include medical expenses; it includes damages for pain and suffering, a typical component of any similar case.
McCracken was 85 percent negligent according to the jury’s decision.
The problem is hardly unheard of. Almost every American will experience a misdiagnosis at least once. That amounts to over 12 million each year, and the situation isn’t getting any better as time goes on.
Part of the problem results from insufficient learning. If you go into the doctor’s office complaining of a symptom and are misdiagnosed, you might then find yourself in the emergency room. Whether or not you could have prevented a future complication, the doctor needs to know that a mistake was made. If you don’t follow up with the doctor after your visit to the emergency room, or you don’t realize that there was a misdiagnosis to begin with, then the mistakes might continue.
It’s a slippery slope, and it’s one that shows little signs of change.