Medical Misdiagnosis in the Intensive Care Unit

When a doctor fails to correctly diagnose an ailment, a patient may lose all chances for recovery, especially one who is already critically ill.

misdiagnosis-icuErrors in diagnosis, such as delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, refers to situations where a doctor or another medical professional commits a mistake that causes a delay in treatment. The most common type of misdiagnosis mistakes are radiology errors, such as when a doctor misreads the test results. Such medical errors can have life-changing consequences for the patient, and it is important that hospitals and doctors implement measures to avoid such costly mistakes.

The Rate of Misdiagnosis in the ICU

Misdiagnosis does not just affect patients who seem healthy. There are cases when a patient is ill, but the doctor mistakes the condition for a wrong ailment. In a report published in the General News Surgery, the results of a research project that examined diagnosis mistakes affecting people who died while in intensive care units were examined. The research was conducted to get an idea of the number of people in intensive care units that were misdiagnosed and how many died as a result of the error. The results of the research were alarming. It was revealed that almost 28 percent of ICU patients die because of misdiagnosis. Furthermore, as many as 8 percent of all intensive care unit patients die because of a major misdiagnosis.

How Misdiagnosis Goes Undetected

Researchers even quoted that the estimates were conservative and that the problem is more widespread. The researchers clarified that the study did not take into account non-autopsy based studies, so they could not examine cases of misdiagnosis that did not lead to death but were associated with increased health care costs. Another fact that is worth considering is that many patients who die in ICU do not undergo an autopsy. According to the research report, only 43 percent of the total patients who died in the ICU during the period of study had an autopsy performed.

The researchers also raised concerns about the fact that fewer autopsies are performed, which allows cases of misdiagnosis to go undetected. The researchers gathered data from 32 different projects spanning a total of more than 5,800 autopsies of patients who died in intensive care units. The most serious cases of misdiagnosis included uncontrolled infection and vascular errors.

The Harsh Reality of Medical Errors

The study offers a glimpse into the harsh reality of medical errors, especially those concerning misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. Losing a loved one is one of the toughest situations that one has to deal with. However, the situation becomes even grimmer when the death is a result of a medical mistake or poor medical care.

If you suspect that your loved one’s death in the ICU was a result of medical misdiagnosis, consult with a St. Louis medical malpractice attorney to understand your legal options. Contact Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.


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