Misdiagnosis Statistics: How Often Do Diagnostic Errors Occur? (Part 1)

March 10, 2014

When we go to a doctor to get an official diagnosis, we want to be able to trust that these medical professionals have the proper training and experience to make the right diagnosis, as well as to prescribe and administer the appropriate treatments. Tragically, however: 

  • Misdiagnosis statistics reveal that diagnostic errors are more common than both medication errors and surgery mistakes and are the leading cause of malpractice litigation.

    Misdiagnosis statistics reveal that diagnostic errors are more common than both medication errors and surgery mistakes and are the leading cause of malpractice litigation.

    This is not always the case.

  • Doctors and other medical professionals often make mistakes.
  • When these mistakes pertain to a patient’s diagnosis, they can have serious – if not deadly – results. This is because misdiagnoses can allow some conditions to worsen or spread, which could make treatments of limited use. 

The following misdiagnosis statistics provide a clearer picture of how big of a problem misdiagnoses is and how often doctors make diagnostic errors in the U.S. These statistics have been compiled and presented by a number of reputable organizations, including (but not limited to):

  • The National Center for Policy Analysis
  • The National Cancer Institute
  • The Veterans Administration
  • The National Patient Safety Foundation.

According to these sources:

  • Between 10 and 20 percent of all patients in the U.S. are misdiagnosed at some point in their lives. Misdiagnosis can include making the wrong diagnosis, as well as failure to make any diagnosis in a timely manner.
  • The number of cases of diagnostic errors exceeds the number of cases of both medication errors and surgical errors in the U.S.; however, the latter tend to gain more publicity when they occur.
  • As many as 28 percent of the cases of misdiagnoses result in life-threatening injuries or irreversible injuries.

Look for the upcoming second part of this blog for some additional misdiagnosis statistics and information.

Learn More about Your Rights: Portland & Seattle Lawyers

Helping you hold negligent medical professionals responsible for their diagnostic errors is one of our primary goals. At the Savage Law Firm, our Portland malpractice attorneys encourage you to learn more about your rights and case by setting up a free, no obligations initial consult. We represent clients in Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page.

More about the Portland Malpractice Lawyers at the Savage Law Firm

Since 1977, our Portland malpractice attorneys have been devoted to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services. We realize how devastating personal injuries can be on a physical, as well as a psychological and financial, level, and our lawyers are here to aggressively defend injured people’s rights to both justice and compensation.

While this means that our Portland malpractice lawyers will work diligently to help our clients tell their stories in court, it also means that our attorneys and dedicated staff will vigorously stand up to insurers and others outside of the courtroom to ensure that our clients are able to obtain the settlements they deserve.

Categories: Blog, Diagnostic Errors, Malpractice, Misdiagnosis Statistics