Patients who seek medical care at an outpatient clinic in San Bernardino County or anywhere in the United States are in danger of receiving the wrong diagnosis. Although medical nurses and physicians are some of the most trusted professionals in the industry, research shows that diagnostic errors occur more frequently than people may think. According to a study published in BMJ Quality and Safety, at least 12 million people in the nation are affected by misdiagnosis each year, and a surprising six million of those errors result in significant harm to the patient. These numbers are thought to be underestimated, as countless people have yet to discover that they are being treated for the wrong condition.
When people receive the wrong diagnosis or are not given a diagnosis at all, their actual condition has a chance to increase in severity. For example, an x-ray showing a cloudy mass in a patient’s lungs may be wrongfully diagnosed as pneumonia. As the patient is treated for this condition, the actual lung cancer may increase in size, spread to other areas of the body and decrease the patient’s chances for survival.
A misdiagnosis may be the result of miscommunication between patients and physicians, according to CBS News. These diagnostic errors can also stem from the following physician oversights:
- Failing to perform a comprehensive review of the patient’s medical history
- Not ordering the right type of diagnostic screening test
- Misreading the screening tests
In some cases, physicians are rushed to see a certain number of patients each day and do not have enough time to spend with each patient.