Patients receiving an incorrect diagnosis in the emergency room is a widespread problem. Over seven million misdiagnoses occur in emergency rooms across the United States annually. According to a government report published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s something to be aware of if you are ever treated in an emergency room in Virginia.
6% of ER patients are misdiagnosed
Of the 130 million individuals seen in U.S. emergency rooms every year, a misdiagnosis occurs in 6% of these patients. This means that approximately 1 in 18 people are misdiagnosed each year. The researchers who worked on this report stated that these statistics align with the numbers seen in hospital inpatient and primary care settings.
Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in emergency rooms include:
- Myocardial infarctions
- Venous Thromboembolism
- Aortic aneurysms or dissections
- Spinal cord compressions or injuries
What causes an incorrect diagnosis?
Misdiagnoses are most likely to happen when symptoms aren’t specific or fall outside of the range of what a medical professional typically expects to see. This form of medical malpractice presents a significant risk to patients because it may cause significant delays in their receiving proper treatment. In some cases, it results in patients undergoing a treatment plan that they don’t need and does them more harm than good.
It’s important to note that this report has been challenged by 10 of the top emergency physician groups in the United States. These include the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the American College of Emergency Physicians. These groups have called out the study for its incomplete and misleading nature.