Although physicians in Oregon generally try to make accurate diagnoses, studies repeatedly reveal that mistakes are common. For example, cellulitis, a serious bacterial infection of the skin and soft tissue, is far too frequently misdiagnosed, studies have shown.
When someone with cellulitis enters the hospital, intravenous antibiotics will frequently be applied and the patient must remain in the hospital for days. For the one in five people who receive this treatment for an erroneous diagnosis, the risks and costs mount quickly. They might suffer a reaction to medication or catch an infection simply by being in the hospital. The average cost per admission runs about $12,000 for unnecessary treatments.
The medical community continues to look for methods to avoid costly and dangerous medical errors. A report from the Institute of Medicine about diagnostic errors emphasizes the need for better communication among patients and physicians and support staff. Physicians should also seek continuing education and feedback from peers, which is lacking in many medical environments. Furthermore, physicians need to focus on physical exams and patient histories more than relying solely on diagnostic testing.
A person whose condition worsens as a result of a misdiagnosis may want to discuss the situation with a medical malpractice attorney. Medical legal cases tend to require multiple levels of proof in order to illustrate negligence. An attorney who has experience with these types of matters will often review the client's medical records and obtain the opinions of medical experts in order to support the claim. In some cases, a medical malpractice case can be settled without the need to resort to litigation.