Forty percent of hospital patients report being the victim of a medical error. Such errors cost 98,000 Americans their lives each year. A 2006 NY Times article determined that doctors misdiagnose fatal conditions 20% of the time and according to the Journal of the American Medical Association this has not improved since the 1930’s!.
CNN has found that the most common misdiagnoses involve aortic dissection, cancer, clogged arteries, heart attack, and infection. In reporting these mistakes, CNN notes that patients should explain their symptoms fully and clearly. If they believe they’re being dismissed, ask another doctor. It’s not very encouraging news.
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