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Failure to Diagnose
How does it occur?
Failure to diagnose occurs when a healthcare provider doesn’t identify a patient’s medical condition accurately and promptly. This can cause delays in necessary treatment or the administration of incorrect treatment, leading to severe harm or even fatalities.
Factors contributing to diagnostic failure include inadequate medical history, misinterpretation of symptoms, incomplete physical examination, errors in testing, rare/atypical conditions, cognitive biases, and communication breakdown.
What are the consequences?
Failing to diagnose can have serious consequences, including worsened health conditions, increased expenses, more extended hospital stays, and the need for more invasive treatments. In some cases, it can even lead to permanent disability or death.
How can it be avoided?
Healthcare providers should prioritize communication, education, and diagnostic protocols to avoid misdiagnosis. Encouraging second opinions, using advanced technology, and learning from mistakes can also help reduce errors.
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