One out of every five Iowa residents reports medical mistakes affecting themselves or someone they know. The errors include surgical mistakes, missed or wrong diagnoses or medication errors. A survey conducted by an Iowa-based research group focusing on health issues estimates that as many as 112,000 Iowans are seriously harmed each year by medical errors.
While the Heartland Health Research Institute (HHRI) poll is from 2017, the concern over medical errors isn’t going away. A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), released on Jan. 5, estimates that over 7 million Americans who go to emergency rooms (ERs) each year receive the wrong diagnosis. That translates to one out of every 18 patients. Of those wrongly diagnosed, officials say 370,000 die or suffer permanent injuries.
Top five misdiagnosed medical conditions
The HHS report looked only at ERs and found that five conditions accounted for nearly 40% of all misdiagnoses. They are:
- Myocardial infarction
- Spinal cord compression
- Venous thromboembolism
- Aortic aneurysm
Stroke was missed in about 17% of all misdiagnoses. The report says atypical or nonspecific symptoms were complicating factors.
Iowans want medical providers to report errors
The HHRI survey showed that less than 40% of Iowans harmed were informed of the error by medical staff. Nearly 90% said the mistake they experienced was preventable. Of those affected, patients reported:
- Serious health consequences – 59.5%
- Minor health consequences – 22.9%
- Serious financial consequences – 32.1%
- Minor financial consequences – 28.3%
An overwhelming 90% of those surveyed felt that medical providers should be required to report errors, mainly because it would help prevent the mistakes from occurring in the future. Just over 60% said the general public should have access to information related to medical errors.
Medical negligence can cause devastating physical, financial and emotional hardships for patients and their families. If you or a loved one’s health is jeopardized, experienced legal guidance is crucial for holding providers, clinics and hospitals accountable and for recovering damages.