Medical Mistakes: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses

From the Show: Staying Well
Summary: Mistakes in medical diagnoses can cost you in money, invasive procedures and even death. And it's scary just how often they occur.
Air Date: 12/16/13
Duration: 10
Host: Melanie Cole, MS
Guest Bio: Leana Wen, MD
Leana Wen Leana Wen, M.D., is an emergency physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care Research at George Washington University.

She is a former Rhodes Scholar and received her training at the University of Oxford and Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital, where she was on the faculty at Harvard Medical School.

Inspired by her own childhood illness and then her mother's long battle with cancer, Dr. Wen is passionate about guiding patients to advocate for better care. She has been featured in TIME, Newsweek, ABC News, NPR, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the award-winning HBO documentary, Reporter.
  • Book Title: When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests
Medical Mistakes: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses
A medical misdiagnosis isn't that unheard of these days. Giving the wrong prescription, an unnecessary invasive procedure or the wrong diagnosis does more than burn a hole in your wallet. Medical misdiagnoses can cause patients unnecessary pain, discomfort and in the worst case, death.

According to recent findings, an estimated 10 to 20 percent of patient cases are misdiagnosed. The study showed that a whopping 28 percent of 583 diagnostic mistakes were life-threatening, led to disability or resulted in death. According to The Journal of Clinical Oncology, 44 percent of patient's cancers are misdiagnosed.

How can this be happening in developed countries such as ours?

Emergency Physician and Director of Patient-Centered Care Research at George Washington University, Dr. Leana Wen, MD, shares why misdiagnoses happen, as well as what you can do to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones.


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