Why do modern doctors make so many diagnostic errors?

On Behalf of | Nov 8, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

There are numerous different types of medical malpractice. Even though patients typically want to trust their physicians, doctors can fail them in a variety of ways, many of which can hurt their chances of a full recovery or otherwise favorable outcome. Staff members at a hospital can make mistakes when administering medications, and surgeons sometimes make major errors while performing operations. The most egregious errors are uncommon but may prove devastating for the party affected.

Some types of medical malpractice are far more common than others and are easy to overlook. Diagnostic failures, including misdiagnosis and the failure to diagnose a patient, are among the most common types of medical malpractice that occur each year. People often fail to recognize diagnostic errors until after their conditions worsen or someone dies. Doctors have never had access to better imaging technology or more authoritative tests. Why do they make so many diagnostic errors when providing patient care?

Doctors are under a lot of employer pressure

Most physicians do not operate their own practices. Instead, they are employees working for large medical corporations. As employees, they have to abide by the expectations of the company that hired them. They often care for so many patients that they cannot recall the details about specific individuals without reviewing their medical charts. They also have very little time to spend with each individual patient. Information about the care patients receive paints a very grim picture of how much attention they receive one in need of medical care.

The average doctor only spends 11 seconds listening to a patient before interrupting them or jumping to a conclusion. People may not even have the time necessary to ask questions or relay all of their symptoms to a doctor in that very brief window of opportunity. Overworked doctors are more likely to overlook details about a patient’s case or reach the simplest conclusion instead of exploring the matter thoroughly. When the doctor diagnoses someone with the wrong condition or fails to diagnose them, they may have delays in treatment that undermine their chance of recovery or severe consequences for receiving the wrong treatment.

Filing a medical malpractice claim can be an appropriate response to the professional failure of a physician, such as rushing through the diagnostic process and reaching an inaccurate result. Although mistakes happen, patients shouldn’t have to shoulder the burdens associated with inadequate professional care.


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