ER doctors misdiagnose patients with unusual symptoms

“As with all medical specialties, there is room for improvement in the diagnostic accuracy of emergency care,” said Dr. Kan added. “All of us who practice emergency medicine are committed to improving care and reducing diagnostic errors.”

Doctors say it’s difficult to fix diagnostic errors. While the National Academy of Medicine identified medical errors as a critical problem more than 20 years ago, most efforts to improve patient safety have focused on errors that are easier to identify, such as: B. if a patient is given the wrong medication or develops an infection while in the hospital, said Dr. Robert Wachter, Chair of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who had not seen the full report. “Diagnostic errors are a big part of the problem,” he said.

The deaths that occur each year, according to the report, “are a very worrying number,” said Dr. said guard. The results of the study are higher than previous estimates, he noted.

The researchers relied extensively on studies conducted outside the United States in countries such as Canada, Spain and Switzerland to arrive at their overall estimates of failure and damage rates. But dr Kang argued that reliance on these studies may have skewed the results and led researchers to overestimate the number of errors. “While most medical specialties in western countries have similar training, this is not the case in emergency medicine,” he said.

The study authors recognized the need to conduct more research that specifically addresses emergency departments in the United States. “We need studies that are conducted in the United States,” said Dr. Susan M. Peterson, a Johns Hopkins emergency room physician who is also one of the authors of the study. “That’s a huge gap in the literature.”

But she also emphasized the benefit of paying more attention when doctors tend to miss a crucial diagnosis. In recent years, she said, doctors have gotten much better at detecting heart attacks as they work together with public health campaigns, better diagnostic tests, and collaboration between cardiologists and emergency physicians to solve the problem.

Experts also stressed that while the study focused on the mistakes made in emergency rooms, where a stressed doctor must quickly decide what’s wrong with a patient in the face of overcrowding, the problem of misdiagnosis is a common problem for all doctors.

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