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Top Medical Conditions Misdiagnosed In Florida ERs


When you need to visit the ER, it is typically because you suffered an injury or urgent medical event that requires immediate attention. Time is of the essence, and many people who head to the emergency department in Florida do present with life-threatening conditions. There is no room for diagnosis mistakes, but statistics from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) reveal that they occur with alarming frequency. Researchers estimate that 7.4 million patients are misdiagnosed among the 130 million ER visits annually. Around 2.6 million are harmed because of such an error, and 370,000 suffer serious adverse events.

If you have concerns about diagnosis mistakes while in the ER, it is important to discuss your circumstances with an experienced Tampa medical malpractice lawyer. You may have a claim under medical malpractice laws, but you will need assistance with the legal process. Some background on the top misdiagnosed medical conditions in the ER is also informative.

 Misdiagnosis by ER Physicians: AHRQ identified five conditions that account for 39 percent of all harms caused by diagnosis mistakes in the emergency department.

  1. Stroke, which occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted by a clot or bleeding in the brain;
  2. Myocardial Infarction, familiarly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow to the heart is interrupted and tissue begins to die;
  3. Aortic Aneurysm, a bulge in a primary blood vessel that can rupture or dissect;
  4. Spinal cord injuries, especially compression trauma that prevents messaging between the brain and the rest of the body; and,
  5. Venous thromboembolism (VTE) that causes blood clots in veins, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). 

The percentage of misdiagnosis harms within these five conditions varies, with stroke being missed 17 percent of the time in the ER. Heart attack is the lowest, with false negative rates at 1.5 percent.

How Diagnosis Mistakes in the ER Happen: In general, misdiagnosis in any health care setting is the result of medical negligence. Under Florida law, a provider may be negligent by departing from the standard of care that applies to the patient, the physician’s training, and the circumstances. In the context of diagnosing medical conditions in the emergency department, some examples of negligence include:

  • Failure to conduct a thorough physical exam;
  • Not ordering appropriate tests and lab screenings to assist with diagnosis;
  • Mistakes in reviewing MRIs, CT scans, x-rays, and diagnostic tests;
  • Delays with getting the results of screenings to providers in the ER;
  • Documentation errors and lack of communication among providers; and,
  • Allowing the patient to be discharged before diagnosis is complete.

A Tampa, FL ER Errors Attorney Can Advise You on Your Rights

 To learn more about your legal remedies after suffering a misdiagnosis in the ER, please contact Greco & Wozniak P.A. You can set up a no-cost case review by contacting our Tampa, FL offices at 813.223.7849 or via our website. A Florida med mal lawyer can explain how the process works after learning more about your circumstances.



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