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New Study Reveals Misdiagnosis May Be Common Among San Diego Primary Care Doctors

A new study suggests that misdiagnosis may be more common in primary care than many think. In fact, missed or wrong diagnoses may be putting thousands of San Diego patients at risk of complications each year.

In the latest study, researchers used electronic health records to track 190 medical diagnostic errors made during primary care visits at two healthcare facilities. The most frequently observed missed diagnoses involve conditions commonly treated by primary care physicians. They included pneumonia (6.7%), decompensated congestive heart failure (5.7%), acute renal failure (5.3%), cancer (primary) (5.3%), and urinary tract infection or pyelonephritis (4.8%).

While a number of factors contributed to the medical errors, the researchers found that the failure to obtain an accurate patient history, perform a full exam or order the proper tests caused most of the problems. Even more alarming, the majority of the errors were not harmless. Of the 190 patients with diagnostic errors, 36 resulted in serious, permanent damage while 27 were fatal.

“If you look at the types of chief complaints that these things occur with, they’re fairly common chief complaints,” said Dr. Hardeep Singh, who led the new study at the Houston VA Health Services Research and Development Center of Excellence.

“If somebody would come in with mild shortness of breath and a little bit of cough, people would think you might have bronchitis, you might have phlegm… and lo and behold they would come back two days later with heart failure,” he told Reuters Health.

If you or someone you love has suffered from a medical error, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.