In our previous post, we began speaking about diagnostic errors, noting that this category of errors is relatively resistant to improvement. Part of the reason for this, according to some experts, is that we do not have good ways to measure diagnostic errors, nor do we have well developed techniques for preventing them.
Back in May, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine published a study which found that medical error is the third most common cause of death in the United States, following up heart disease and cancer. The study used data from previous research to estimate the medical error death rate at the national level based on hospital admissions in 2013.
Last time, we began looking at the topic of cancer screening. As we noted, physicians are expected to have a general knowledge of cancer screening guidelines and to act appropriately in ordering screening tests and referring to specialists when necessary. Surprisingly, many physicians do not have the degree of knowledge concerning cancer screening that patients should be able to expect them to have.
Cancer screening is a big topics, and one in which patients, physicians and researchers should all be interested. For researchers, there is a need to continually expand and refine our knowledge of what and when screening tests are most effective for patients. For physicians, there is a need for clear guidelines about the effectiveness and risks of cancer screening. For patients, cancer screening can allow for early treatment and improved treatment outcomes.
According to the American Cancer Society, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States for both men and women, and the second most common form of cancer in general. Lung cancer is most often associated with smoking cigarettes, though it can also be caused by exposure to certain chemicals or environments. In some cases, lung cancer can occur among those with no known risk factors.
Last month, a jury in Montgomery County awarded $6 million to the husband of a woman who died in 2009 shortly after an emergency C-Section. According to the complaint, physicians and hospital staff caring for the woman failed to diagnose her with pre-eclampsia and eclampsia during the course of her pregnancy, thereby putting her life at risk.
January marks different things for many people. For many, it might be when their weight-loss resolution turns to action. For others, it simply means a new year and a fresh start. For all women, January should serve as a reminder of the risks of a certain kind of cancer.
When a child falls ill it can be stressful for the parents. Since many people do not have a background in medicine, the logical thing to do is to take the sick child to a doctor or other medical professional for assistance. There is an assumption that those individuals will do their best to identify what is wrong with the child and then provide the care needed. Unfortunately, this is not always the way that things work out. The parents of a 2-year-old girl who live in a neighboring state are all too aware of this.
Getting a correct diagnosis is obviously critical for the successful treatment of a patient, and yet it isn’t always the case that physicians make the correct diagnosis on their patients. In fact, misdiagnosis is the most common basis for medical malpractice litigation.
For some women, a breast cancer diagnosis is a great fear. When something looks suspicions a biopsy might be ordered. In the United States each year, approximately 1.6 million women have biopsies for breast cancer. Being told after a biopsy that they in fact do not have breast cancer is a great relief, that is until they are later diagnosed with a much more serious case. Unfortunately this happens all too frequently. A study lead by a professor of University of Washington School of Medicine recently looked into the matter.