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Diagnostic Errors Linked To 800,000 Deaths Or Injures In US Annually

Nearly 800,000 People Are Killed Or Permanently Disabled Each Year Due To Hospital Diagnostic Errors

Diagnostic Errors Linked To 800,000 Deaths Or Injures In US Annually

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (July 23, 2023) – An estimated 800,000 are killed or permanently disabled every year due to diagnostic errors, according to one new report.

The report was featured in BMJ.  Around 371,000 people died due to diagnostic errors and another 424,000 sustained permanent injuries. This could include brain injuries, blindness and loss of limbs.

Researchers pulled from dozens of earlier studies in order to look at how often certain conditions were missed. The diagnostic errors included instances where a hospital failed to diagnose a patient’s condition.

It also included instances where hospital misdiagnosed a patient’s condition. The report estimated that slightly over half of all diagnostic errors involved just 15 diseases.

On the bright side, the relatively small number of diseases being misdiagnosed could mean that preventing diagnostic errors may be much easier than previously imagined.

Liability For New York Diagnostic Errors

It has been known for a long time that many people are killed every year due to diagnostic errors. But the full scope of the problem was made much more clear by the new report in BMJ. Diagnostic errors with respect to certain conditions can be much more consequential. This is the case for stroke and spinal abscess. Spinal abscess, in particular is misdiagnosed about 60% of the time and can lead to permanent disability. There are a number of factors that could contribute to diagnostic errors.

  • There could be miscommunication between medical providers.
  • Younger physicians with less experience tend to be more likely to misdiagnose patients.
  • Diagnostic errors may occur because a doctor didn’t spend enough time with patients.
  • A doctor or hospital may not have had sufficient tools to give a patient the correct diagnosis.

Depending on the facts of any case, a hospital could be liable if a patient is injured or killed by a diagnostic error. Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured or killed by a doctor or hospital’s deviation from the applicable standard of care. There is no single standard of care for any health-care field. However, a doctor’s or hospital’s standard of care is met when a doctor or hospital with an equivalent skill set would have followed the same procedures and guidelines under identical circumstances. There are a number of elements that must be demonstrated in any medical malpractice claim.

  • A Duty of Care Was Owed: The doctor-patient relationship typically means that a duty of care is owed. In most situations, it is not that difficult to establish that a doctor or hospital owed a patient a duty of care.
  • A Duty of Care Was Breached: A doctor isn’t necessarily negligent if their efforts are not successful. Rather, for a breach to be established, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the standard of care they were given differed substantially from what prudent medical peers would do in the same situation.
  • Proximate Cause: The breach of care must have been the proximate cause of the patient’s injuries.
  • Damages: The injury sustained by the patient must have caused actual damages.

In many situations, a misdiagnosis is not that consequential especially for conditions that will improve on their own. But misdiagnosing cancer or other serious illness can have fatal consequences. The family of any person that died due to the diagnostic error of a hospital may have recourse through a medical malpractice claim. Sadly, though, hospitals will often fight hard to deny liability if one of their patients is killed or seriously injured due to a diagnostic error. A medical malpractice attorney can examine the unique facts of your case and let you know what your legal options are.

Investigating New York Diagnostic Errors

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the families of all of those who have lost someone due to a diagnostic error. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to prevent as many of these tragedies as possible. These are all deaths that were highly preventable.

Have you or someone that you care about been injured due to a diagnostic error. The New York medical malpractice lawyers at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. are here for you. They can answer any legal questions that you may have and take steps to help protect your rights. Our team of attorneys have decades of experience and have recovered over 1 billion for our deserving clients. Whether you just have legal questions or need any type of help we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.


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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.