It’s scary to imagine, but most people will experience at least one late or inaccurate medical diagnosis during their lifetime. For many, this error will have life-altering and often life-threatening consequences, which can be fertile ground for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

In fact, the problem is more serious than originally thought, according to a report spotlighted on NBC News. And to make matters worse, doctors and hospitals are trying to keep the problem under the radar.

According to findings from the National Academy of Medicine:

  • Each year, at least 5 percent of American adults who seek outpatient treatment get an incorrect diagnosis.
  • Diagnosis mistakes contribute to about 10 percent of patient deaths.
  • Diagnosis errors make up 6 to 17 percent of adverse events in hospitals.

However, the report also suggests that several steps can be taken to help reduce the number of incorrect or late diagnoses:

  • Pathologists and radiologists need to be more involved in a patient’s diagnosis.
  • Health care professionals need to return to conducting autopsies.
  • Hospitals need to implement tougher guidelines and medical professionals need better training.
  • Available medical technology needs to be used more effectively and efficiently.

Unfortunately, doctors and hospitals do not necessarily support these recommendations.

In fact, it will take a major culture shift in the medical profession to get hospitals and health care providers to willingly fess up to their mistakes. Until then, one thing is certain: the inaccurate and too-late diagnoses will continue.