Older adults might present with atypical symptoms, such as “just not feeling right.” Some experience a decreased sensation of dyspnea itself, so they do not even report feeling short of breath. Older patients also may present with various comorbid conditions that are causing shortness of breath, such as congestive heart failure or COPD. This can lead to misdiagnosis.
Failure to timely diagnose, failure to order diagnostic tests, and failure to interpret diagnostic tests were the most frequent allegations in malpractice claims involving aortic dissection, according to an analysis of claims filed between 1994 and 2019.
Some charts might indicate there was chest pain and an abnormal ECG, but the patient was discharged with no explanation. Plaintiffs can use this to make a case the emergency physician missed classic presentation of myocardial infarction. Counter this allegation with specific documentation outlined here.
In an analysis, 58% of claims against emergency physicians resulted from misdiagnosis. Diagnosis-related allegations were more common in emergency medicine-related claims (58% of claims) than in claims involving internists (42% of claims). The most common final diagnoses were myocardial infarction, pulmonary embolus, and cardiac arrest.
Just 23% of older adults in the ED gave a medication list that mirrored pharmacy records, according to the results of an analysis. More than half the patients omitted antibiotics they were taking at the time of the visit. Not knowing about a medicine can lead to dangerous therapy or misdiagnosis.
Just because there are surges of respiratory patients in the emergency department does not mean there are any fewer stroke, heart attack, or septic patients. There will not be fewer lawsuits, either, if any of these patients receive delayed care or are misdiagnosed.