In New York, people who have a medical issue and need to rush to the hospital for emergency care will likely undergo various tests. They and their families will want accurate answers as quickly as possible so a proper treatment strategy can be initiated. Depending on the symptoms and other factors, the medical professionals may order imaging tests. Obviously, the objective is to determine the issue and address it. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen and a recent study links emergency diagnostic tests to errors in people who needed to return for treatment.
Adverse outcomes worryingly common after imaging tests, release and return
A newly released study suggests that people who had an imaging test, left the hospital and later needed to be readmitted were prone to having a bad outcome. Researchers were aware beforehand that people who needed to return to the emergency room after having been there recently were at greater risk of a negative aftermath. However, it was unsure of the extent of the problem. In its analysis, people who needed to return to the emergency department within three days after they had already been there and had imaging tests were three times as likely to have faced a medical error.
Thirty-six percent were subject to these errors in that time-frame; 12% were not. The most common mistakes occurred with people who had a digestive disease (47.5%) or neurologic disease (46.8%). More than 1,000 people were assessed within 30 days of having imaging studies and suffering negative outcomes following a repeat imaging test. For the study, the years 2002 to 2015 were looked at and people who had repeat MRI or CT scans were the focus. Included were patients who were released and came back for emergency treatment within seven days. More than one-third had an adverse outcome when there had been a diagnostic error. Just shy of 15% in the non-error group had a negative outcome.
After a diagnostic error, it is useful to have professional advice
When a person is in distress and needs to head for emergency treatment, they will expect the medical professionals to discover what is wrong and take steps to address it. Part of that may involve diagnostic testing. Medical missteps can happen at any time and this study shows that those who had imaging tests may be vulnerable to worse problems if these mistakes occur. With bills, lost time at work, long-term damage and even death, a medical malpractice case might be needed. Having professional assistance is vital from the start to look at the situation and craft a viable plan.