The recent experience of thousands of U.S. veterans exemplifies the serious potential impact of misdiagnosis, one of the most common and dangerous types of medical errors.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, a U.S. health and science organization formerly known as the Institute of Medicine, 5 percent of those in this country undergoing outpatient care fall victim to a diagnostic error each year. It further asserts that medical diagnostic mistakes account for 10 percent of all U.S. patient deaths annually.
Potential VA Traumatic Brain Injury Misdiagnosis
The questionable implementation of a U.S. Department of Veterans Administration policy may have delayed the correct diagnosis of a very serious health problem for a large number of our nation’s service veterans.
In 2007, the VA mandated that one of four types of health care providers – psychiatrist, physiatrist, neurosurgeon, or neurologist – conduct an exam of veterans seeking claims for a Traumatic Brain Injury. The VA deemed these healthcare professionals as the best for detecting TBI cases.
After an 18-month internal review, however, the VA discovered that between 2007 and 2014, more than 24,000 veterans received a TBI exam from outside this group of practitioners, if they received an exam at all. Their claims and possibly essential treatment, therefore, were denied.
Given the seriousness of this medical mistake, the VA last month announced it is providing unique relief to these veterans. The 24,000 men and women will receive the proper exam and their TBI claims will be reconsidered.
But many individuals who fail to receive the correct medical diagnosis aren’t so fortunate. They may never learn about a mistake, or series of medical mistakes, that lead to their needless suffering. In the most tragic of circumstances, it’s up to the patient’s surviving family members to uncover what went wrong and why.
If you feel you were seriously hurt or lost a loved one because of a doctor’s misdiagnosis, contact an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases to discuss your concerns.
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