A landmark study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2016 found that medical error is the third-most-common cause of death in the U.S., following heart disease and cancer. Researchers in the Hopkins study estimated that around 250,000 people die each year because of medical mistakes. The problem is, the Centers for Disease Control does not list medical error as a cause of death in their yearly national health statistics. Of course, mistakes made by medical personnel are not always fatal, but they may lead to ongoing health issues or complications down the road.
A 2017 Mayo Clinic study found that only 12% of patients seeking a second opinion were diagnosed correctly by their primary care physician. The doctors offering the second opinion said 80% of those patients left their offices with a refined or completely new diagnosis. Misdiagnosis prevents physicians from prescribing accurate treatment plans and providing quality health care. It can also lead to delayed treatment for a condition that was initially preventable or curable.
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