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Study Shows Majority Of First Diagnoses May Be Incorrect

Many patients who receive an initial diagnosis choose to seek a second opinion, and according to one recent study, in a significant percentage of cases, they’re right to do so.

Health policy researchers at the Mayo Clinic analyzed records of hundreds of patients who had come to the clinic for a second opinion. The findings were startling: 88% of the referred patients left with a different medical determination, according to a New York Daily News article about the study. 

More than one in five patients (21%) got a completely different diagnosis, while about two thirds (67%) received a modified diagnosis. Only 12% of diagnoses remained the same after the patient sought a second opinion.

And as James Naessens, the Mayo Clinic health care policy researcher who led the study team, pointed out, the finding that more than one in five patients might have a completely incorrect diagnosis is especially troubling “not only because of the safety risks for these patients prior to correct diagnosis, but also because of the patients we assume are not being referred at all.”

Incorrect diagnoses can lead to serious and even fatal medical errors

Medical misdiagnosis is one of the most persistent and dangerous medical errors affecting patients in New York and nationwide. Without the correct diagnosis, it is impossible for a patient to receive the correct treatment. And patients who are incorrectly diagnosed face not only the symptoms of an untreated medical condition, but also, in many cases, the side effects of inappropriate or unnecessary treatment for a condition that they do not actually have.

Certainly, no doctor can be expected to correctly and immediately diagnose every condition. Some diagnostic errors happen because medical conditions have ambiguous or hidden symptoms. But even in those cases, doctors are expected to understand that there is some doubt surrounding the diagnosis and take appropriate steps to protect the patient’s health. And when doctors fail to follow established standards of care during the diagnostic process, patients can be seriously or even fatally injured.

A 2015 report published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine shed light on several of the most common causes of medical misdiagnosis, including:

  • Failing to order medical tests, such as blood tests and CT scans, even when the need for such testing is medically indicated;
  • Misinterpreting the results of tests such as X-ray scans;
  • Failing to refer a patient to an appropriate specialist.

And as the study results from the Mayo Clinic show, if a patient has any reason to doubt a doctor’s diagnosis and wants to seek a second opinion, the desire to get that second opinion is almost always warranted. Moreover, because a delay in correct diagnosis can be exceptionally dangerous, it’s wise for patients to seek that second opinion as soon as possible, especially for serious medical conditions – and to keep careful track of every medical visit, appointment and diagnosis. In the event that a diagnostic error resulting in injury does occur, the negligent medical provider can be held accountable.

Jonathan C. Reiter's

New York City Personal Injury Lawyer / Aviation Accident Attorney

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Lenox Hill Hospital

A 652-bed teaching hospital, Lenox Hill Hospital is located in the Lenox Hill neighborhood at 100 E. 77th Street. This 652-bed on the Upper East Side of Manhattan serves mostly patients from Manhattan, but other patients are admitted from Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Long Island and throughout the tri-state region. Anyone who suspects negligence after treatment should speak with an experienced attorney immediately.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Bellevue Hospital Center

Bellevue Hospital Center at 462 1st Avenue has 828 beds and experiences 115,797 emergency room visits each year. Bellevue had a higher rate of infections compared to hospitals in other states, according to a New York State Department of Health Report in 2009. Anyone who is injured by the negligence of a doctor or nurse at this Manhattan hospital, the oldest in the United States, will need an experienced attorney with experience and resources needed to take aggressive action.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital

Lower Manhattan Hospital at 170 William Street in New York is one of the main campuses of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. This hospital, with 170 beds, provides a range of inpatient and outpatient services. According to an article in the New York Post, New York-Presbyterian scored 18 percent below average for patient safety in a ranking of hospitals by Consumer Reports magazine. Patients who suspect medical malpractice should not hesitate to arrange a consultation with a New York City attorney who can investigate and hold the negligent medical care provider accountable.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Mount Sinai Beth Israel

The main hospital known as the Petrie Division is located at First Avenue and 16th Street. But Mount Sinai Beth Israel has other campuses, including Phillips Ambulatory Care Center at Union Square. Mount Sinai Beth Israel is a teaching hospital with 1,368 beds. If you suffered any form of negligence while being treated at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, take action immediately to protect your rights.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at 1275 York Avenue in Manhattan provides cancer care to patients. The hospital is composed of two institutions: Memorial Hospital for Cancer and Allied Diseases, which provides patient care, and the Sloan Kettering Institute, which is focused on research. Patients who suspect a failure to diagnose cancer or some other type of hospital negligence can contact a lawyer to discuss options.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Mount Sinai Hospital

Mount Sinai Hospital at One Gustave L. Levy Place is a 1,048-bed facility founded in 1852. It is one of the oldest and largest teaching hospitals in the country. Consumer Reports rated Mount Sinai 31 percent below average for patient safety. If you or a loved one was a victim of medical malpractice at any Manhattan hospital, don’t wait to contact an attorney to find out if you have a case. You may be entitled to compensation.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center

St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center at 1111 Amsterdam Avenue was ranked No. 14 out of the 30 worst hospitals for patient safety, as identified by Consumer Reports. The magazine examined four key measures of patient safety: hospital-acquired infections, readmissions and the quality of communication between staff and patients in regard to medications and discharge planning.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

New York-Presbyterian/ Columbia University Medical Center

New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center at 630 West 168th Street was described by a lawmaker as having “horrendous conditions.” Emergency room wait times last an average of 85 minutes, which rank among New York’s 10 worst. Any patient who was treated at the 995-bed hospital in Washington Heights and suspects negligence should not hesitate to speak with an attorney for a free consultation.

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Manhattan Medical Malpractice Info Center

Harlem Hospital Center

Harlem Hospital Center at 506 Malcolm X Blvd. received a 20 on a 1-to-100 scale gauging patient safety by Consumer Reports. The hospital received the second worst score in the nation, according to a New York Post report. Harlem Hospital told Consumer Reports it needs to improve in some areas, according to the Post. The hospital is a general medical and surgical hospital with 272 beds.