The Law Offices of John Phebus

High rate of misdiagnoses

A study indicates that the rate of misdiagnoses by health care practitioners in Arizona and around the country may be between 10 and 20 percent. The study, which was published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, involved data from 286 patients who visited the Mayo Clinic to get a second opinion after seeing a primary care physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner. The majority of these individuals were under the age of 64 and were female.

Researchers determined that about one fifth of those who sought a second opinion had been misdiagnosed. However, those involved in the study pointed out that many of those who were seeking a second opinion had a complex medical issue.

Misdiagnosis is a huge problem, and it can be difficult for medical professionals to get right. According to the founder of the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine, there are about 10,000 diseases but fewer than 300 symptoms. A 2015 report from the National Academy of Medicine stated that the majority of people will have at least one late diagnosis or wrong diagnosis in their life.

When a medical professional fails to correctly diagnose a patient's medical condition, it may be considered medical professional negligence. However, not all instances of misdiagnosis constitute malpractice. In these types of cases, the plaintiff will need to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that there was a failure by the health care practitioner to exhibit the requisite standard of care. An attorney representing such a plaintiff will often obtain the opinions on medical experts in order to do so.

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