When a patient in Montana or elsewhere goes to a clinic or hospital for a medical condition, he or she relies on the medical staff to determine what is wrong and the best course of treatment for their ailment. Although many patients are properly diagnosed and treated, this unfortunately does not always occur. Moreover, when there is a diagnosis error, a patient could suffer tremendously due to worsened conditions or additional medical problems.

No matter the severity of the error, misdiagnoses are not limited to rare cases in medical facilities across the nation. In fact, recent statistics are alarming. A study conducted last year found that doctors make around 12 million outpatient diagnostic errors every year. That is roughly one error in every 20 diagnoses.

Diagnosis have not received enough attention probably because there are so many reasons for their occurrence. These include issues such as problems interpreting tests, clinical reasoning, imaging problems, communication errors and symptoms that come and go or indicate several conditions.

In order to increase patient safety, hospitals should implement an approach to measure diagnostic errors. Additionally, educational interventions and improved patient handoffs could help reduce the serious and even fatal errors misdiagnosis could cause.

While the medical industry is seeking ways to improve patient safety and reduce doctor errors that lead to misdiagnoses, these situations unfortunately still occur. Because of that, patients harmed because of a wrong diagnosis and wrong treatment should understand that he or she has options available to them. A medical malpractice claim could help the patient pursue compensation for expenses such as those associated with their medical care, lost wages and damages related to the incident.