When we are seriously injured or suddenly become extremely ill, most of us go to the emergency room (ER) for immediate treatment. In doing so, we have little choice but to put our full faith and trust in those caring for us. But ERs can be chaotic, stressful environments, and mistakes can occur. In fact, approximately 250,000 people die every year from ER misdiagnoses, according to research conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Evidence-based Practice Center. 

The Johns Hopkins study estimates about 7.4 million people receive inaccurate diagnoses in U.S. emergency departments every year, with 370,000 suffering significant harm. Although misdiagnoses can occur without fault, negligence often plays a role in ER misdiagnosis injuries. Overworked, stressed physicians and other medical personnel are at risk of making dangerous errors and oversights. 

If an ER misdiagnosis has harmed you, you may be able to obtain substantial compensation for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at Sommers Schwartz today for a free and confidential consultation about your case. 

Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions

More than others, the following five conditions are misdiagnosed in hospitals: myocardial infarctions, strokes, aortic aneurysms, spinal cord injuries, and venous thromboembolism. These misdiagnoses are so common they account for 39 percent of all serious harms related to misdiagnosis errors. It’s also important to note that women and people of color have a 20 percent to 30 percent higher risk of misdiagnosis. The Journal of the American Heart Association recently reported that women suffering from chest pain wait 29 percent longer in the ER than their male counterparts. 

Before the pandemic, medical errors were responsible for about 685 U.S. deaths each day, more daily fatalities than those caused by Alzheimer’s, stroke, respiratory disease, and even accidents. But those numbers have only risen since the pandemic. Doctors are human, and humans make mistakes, but the number of deaths and severe injuries due to ER misdiagnoses has spiraled out of control. About 1 in 10 patients with a serious illness or disease initially receive a misdiagnosis. 

How to Prevent Death or Serious Injury Due to an ER Misdiagnosis

Although there is no way to guarantee protection against misdiagnosis-related illness or injury, there are steps we can take to dramatically reduce falling victim to this form of medical negligence. 

  • Keep a list of any supplements, OTC medications, and prescription medications you are taking, along with your medical history and any allergies. Ensure your healthcare provider receives a copy of this list, whether you are just going for an office visit or receiving emergency treatment in the ER. 
  • Take a friend or family member with you to any doctor and hospital visits whenever possible.
  • Write down a list of questions to ask the doctor before office visits. You can also do this in the ER by making notes on your phone or having a friend or family member write down your questions. 
  • Speak up if something doesn’t seem right or you don’t understand what the doctor or other healthcare providers are doing or saying. Miscommunication is a common cause of misdiagnosis errors, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and share your thoughts or concerns. 
  • If you have a choice of hospitals, go to one with a good reputation for providing a high standard of care. 

Contact a Michigan Misdiagnosis Errors Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been harmed by medical negligence, the skilled legal team at Sommers Schwartz can help. We will review the details of your case to determine fault, calculate damages, and obtain the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.