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Study: Diagnosis wrong too often, urgent improvement needed

Published:Tuesday | September 22, 2015 | 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON, United States (AP):

Most Americans will experience at least one wrong or delayed diagnosis over their lifetime, a US report predicts, calling diagnostic errors a blind spot in modern medicine that sometimes causes devastating consequences.

Getting the right diagnosis, at the right time, is key to good health care. But despite lots of focus on health-care quality over the past 15 years, yesterday's Institute of Medicine report found diagnostic errors have gotten too little attention and said urgent improvements are needed.

The report is a "serious wake-up call," said Dr Victor Dzau of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, which oversees the institute.

Possibly the most well-known diagnostic error in recent memory occurred last year when a Liberian man, sick with Ebola, initially was misdiagnosed in a Dallas emergency room as having sinusitis. Thomas Eric Duncan returned two days later, sicker, and eventually died.