Decades Of Experience In Personal Injury Law

How often do emergency room misdiagnosis errors occur?

On Behalf of | Feb 9, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

No one wants to go to the emergency room but occasionally it is necessary for you to find out what certain symptoms mean.

Unfortunately, you may leave the ER with faulty and possibly harmful information due to a misdiagnosis. How does this kind of error occur?

Studying the issues

In 2022, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the results of their findings concerning emergency room misdiagnoses. The Agency reviewed studies performed nationwide between January 2000 and September 2021. Their research found a total of 7.4 million annual misdiagnosis errors of which 2.6 million resulted in preventable harm to patients. The research also found that 370,000 patients became permanently disabled or died due to an ER misdiagnosis.

Commonly misdiagnosed conditions

The Agency study found that women and people of color received misdiagnoses most often. Age also played a part. For example, young patients with strokes were at least six times more likely to suffer misdiagnosis. A stroke is the number one most misdiagnosed condition in the ER. Heart attacks, aortic aneurysms, spinal cord injuries and blood clots that form in a patient’s vein round out the top five.

Identifying causes

Information processing errors are partly to blame for the misdiagnosis errors in the emergency room. As compared with inpatient wards, ER personnel must deal with ongoing interruptions and either incomplete or unreliable patient information. Providing as much factual information as possible about your condition and your medical history will help you avoid leaving the ER with a potentially harmful misdiagnosis.