Intensive Scare: New Jersey Medical Malpractice Attorneys Console & Hollawell React to Johns Hopkins Missed Diagnosis Study

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A report released by patient safety experts at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality* states thousands of critically-ill patients die each year due to the “fatal flaws” of diagnostic procedures in intensive care units around the United States. With 28 percent of ICU patients having at least one missed-diagnosed medical condition at death*, Newark medical malpractice attorney Richard P. Console Jr. has growing concern for the health of the severely injured.

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These people have lives and families who care about them and want them to get better...We shouldn’t see patients dying of missed heart attacks when they’re already admitted to intensive care.

A report released by patient safety experts at the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality* states thousands of critically-ill patients die each year due to the “fatal flaws” of diagnostic procedures in intensive care units around the United States. The study, released this summer, claims as many as 40,500 ICU patients die annually due to misdiagnosis – on par with the same annual life loss of breast cancer. With 28 percent of ICU patients having at least one missed-diagnosed medical condition at death*, Newark medical malpractice attorney Richard P. Console Jr. has growing concern for the health of the severely injured.

“Misdiagnosis of those who are imminent risk of losing their lives is inexcusable,” said Console. “Doctors working in intensive care units have the same duties as other physicians with regard to ruling out life-threatening conditions in their patients. Errors at this critical stage of patient care directly affect patient recovery, and as the data shows, the results are not encouraging.”

Further analysis of the Hopkins study* revealed ICU patients face nearly two times the risk of a potentially fatal diagnostic error than other adult hospital patients. The medical conditions ICU doctors missed most often were heart attack, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), pneumonia and aspergillosis (fungal infection). Heart attacks and strokes accounted for 75 percent of all diagnostic errors in intensive care units, according to Hopkins Medicine.* In 8 percent of all cases studied, a missed diagnosis was serious enough to have directly caused or contributed to the patient’s death.

Safety experts heading the study utilized a wide variety of ICU settings across the country to accumulate data, including 5,863 autopsies to determine actual causes of death for ICU patients. Researchers believe their estimates concerning the number of ICU patient deaths to be conservative in light of the complex cases that can often present in critical care circumstances, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.* Console and his law firm of Marlton medical malpractice lawyers feel a sense of urgency about reducing medical mistakes.

“The data shows a conservative estimate regarding medical misdiagnosis and the number of patients still ranges in the tens of thousands,” commented Console. “These people have lives and families who care about them and want them to get better. Doctors, in any setting, must take the appropriate amount of time to thoroughly diagnose every patient they see. We shouldn’t see patients dying of missed heart attacks when they’re already admitted to intensive care.”

Richard P. Console Jr. is the managing partner of Console & Hollawell P.C., a New Jersey law firm representing victims of medical malpractice across the state. The firm’s award-winning attorneys have helped more than 5,000 satisfied clients obtain deserved compensation for their injuries and related damages.    

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