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Preventing Injury and Death to Idaho Patients Caused by Misdiagnosis

Idaho medical malpractice attorneyMisdiagnoses can result in injury to patients and even death in some cases. Science Daily reports that an estimated 12 million Americans are affected by misdiagnoses every year. This pervasive problem causes financial and emotional losses to the patient and family members who are affected by incorrect diagnoses or a failure to diagnose.

Victims of misdiagnoses are legally entitled to compensation for these losses. Consult with an Idaho medical malpractice attorney in order to protect your legal rights after a medical injury caused by misdiagnosis.

How New Technology is Exploring the Problem of Misdiagnosis

According to Science Daily, Johns Hopkins researchers have developed a program to quantify and monitor diagnostic errors. The Symptom-Disease Pair Analysis of Diagnostic Error (“SPADE”) mines large databases with hundreds of thousands of patient visits. It uses specific algorithms to look for common symptoms, then pairs them with one or more diseases that could be misdiagnosed in those clinical conditions. With this information, SPADE then uses statistical analysis to identify patterns in the rate of diagnostic error.

Hospitals can use these patterns to prevent common diagnostic errors. Researcher David Newman-Toker expects the model to work best at predicting three of the most common causes of disability and death after a diagnostic error: vascular events (such as strokes, heart attacks, and pulmonary embolisms), infections and cancers.

Statistical programs such as SPADE are a critical step toward a better understanding of diagnostic errors. By identifying the conditions in which a misdiagnosis is likely to occur, medical schools and teaching hospitals will be better able to train doctors to avoid these mistakes. Patients who have been injured by a misdiagnosis may also be better able to hold a doctor or hospital accountable for the mistake.

This is because the Idaho Statutes require a medical malpractice plaintiff to prove that the defendant physician violated accepted standards of care. Section 6-1012 defines this level of care as “the applicable standard of health care practice of the community” at the time and place where the care was rendered. If a statistical program has identified common areas of misdiagnosis, and a hospital has taken steps to reduce the type of misdiagnosis a patient has suffered, this could be used as evidence that a misdiagnosing physician did not meet the standard of care in the community.

The Lasting Consequences of a Diagnostic Error

Diagnostic errors, including misdiagnosis and a failure to diagnose, can have lasting financial consequences for patients and their families. Irreversible injuries can often impact a victim’s earning ability for the rest of his or her life. Long-term injuries may also require years of medical treatment and rehabilitative therapies. Hobbies, family relationships, and many other aspects of daily life are also impacted by such injuries.

All of these financial and emotional costs are the direct result of a diagnostic error, and the law entitles victims to be compensated for them. An Idaho medical malpractice attorney can help injury victims and their families seek the compensation to which the law entitles them for injuries suffered as a result of medical malpractice.

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