Missed Diagnosis Errors Still Common in Nursing Home Settings



It’s nice to hear medical malpractice claims have seen a 56 percent drop in the United States since 1992. That is what a March 27, 2018 report published by JAMA Internal Medicine has showed. Although, study authors also found that the most common medical malpractice claims still stem from diagnostic errors or missed diagnoses and that keeps the nursing home neglect attorneys at Levin & Perconti cautiously concerned. Our team hears of major medical errors happening all too frequently, especially to those who receive their care while in a nursing home or long-term care facility.


How To Identify Misdiagnosis or Failure to Diagnose


Since most nursing homes do not employ doctors, a large percentage of nursing home residents will still receive their care from family practice physicians, therapists, visiting doctors, and other medical specialists not affiliated with the nursing home. These clinicians, even medical specialists such as cardiologists and neurologists, may take visits to the nursing home at the request of nursing home patients and their family members. However, just like in a clinic or hospital setting, these medical professionals can fail to notice obvious signs of illness, or neglect to diagnose a condition. Nursing home staff can also contribute to the problem as some care workers have been directed by administrators to falsify reports of ongoing resident health issues and create medication errors..


Family members of nursing home residents should be on the lookout for these common signs of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition:


  • agitation and mood swings
  • altered mental state
  • body aches, pain, and stiffness
  • chronic infections or fever
  • depression or confusion
  • extreme weight loss
  • fatigue
  • general ongoing illnesses
  • hallucinations or delusions
  • memory loss
  • muffled speech
  • shakiness or tremors


And those residents with memory or cognitive diseases like dementia or Parkinson’s may have an even greater risk of a missed diagnosis or neglect if left untreated for:


  • arthritis
  • cancer
  • dehydration
  • delirium
  • fibromyalgia
  • flu
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • heart conditions
  • pneumonia
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)


In many cases, medical conditions are treatable when caught early. However, failing to diagnose or treat a medical condition can often lead to further injury or death. This is especially true for nursing home residents, who are likely already vulnerable to illness and injury. Because of this, nursing homes and patient care teams, including physicians, should do all they can to diagnose residents properly.


Proving Failure to Properly Diagnose


The Illinois nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti can help if a loved one has suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis. In addition, we can work closely with our medical malpractice attorneys, a team that has successfully represented victims of misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses and have the experience and resources needed to handle the most sensitive and complicated matters.


Our consultations are always free, confidential, and handled by one of our skilled attorneys. Click here to fill out an online request form or call us toll-free at 1-877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872.

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