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Medical error and misdiagnosis found to be the third leading cause of death in the U.S., behind Heart Disease and Cancer. If medical error and misdiagnosis are third cause of death in one of the most medically developed countries, imagine what is happening in the rest of the world?

Poor Reporting of Medical Error

Recent research published this month in BMJ uncovered startling facts about medical error and misdiagnosis statistics. If you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics on leading causes of death in the U.S., you will find medical error and misdiagnosis not listed in the top ten. According to the CDC, the third leading cause of death is Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases with nearly 150,000 deaths annually. How is it possible to have such contrast in data?

Authors of the recently published BMJ article, Dr. Martin Makary, professor of surgery, and Michael Daniel, research fellow from John’s Hopkins University highlighted the statistical contrast. The CDC utilizes death certificates to compile statistics regarding cause of death, which may not offer a transparent view of how a patient passes. The Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes simply do not extend to medical error and misdiagnosis. This is why the CDC fails to have such causes of death listed.

Medical Error Research Findings

In order to obtain a better picture of how medical error ranks among the leading killers in the U.S., Makary and Daniel analyzed four professional studies that listed death rates between 2000 and 2008, and hospital admissions for 2013. What the researchers found was staggering. Among the 35,416,020 hospitalizations, 251,454 deaths occurred from medical error. That is roughly 100,000 more deaths than the CDC’s third leading listed cause of death, Chronic Lower Respiratory Diseases. According to the research data, medical error accounts for 9.5 percent of all deaths in the U.S. annually.

Avoid Misdiagnosis with a Second Opinion

Tracking the leading causes of death for a specific population more accurately can help medical professionals, policy makers, and medical institutions better understand all-cause mortality. This could have a big impact on population health and healthcare at multiple levels. How can you avoid becoming another medical error and misdiagnosis statistic?

Waiting for better death rate tracking to be implemented could leave you at risk. The good news is that you don’t need to rely on the statistics to obtain the medical diagnosis and treatment plan you deserve. Obtaining a second opinion is becoming more commonplace in medicine, especially if you have been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Even if you agree with your doctor’s diagnosis and treatment plan, a second opinion may give you more insight into your medical condition. More insight means better peace of mind.

An article published by TIME discussed a recent study in JAMA (2015), which highlighted the need for obtaining a second opinion. The research published in JAMA found that doctors diagnosing breast cancer agree with outside experts 75 percent of the time. Leaving 25 percent to misdiagnosis and medical error. This percentage is much higher when compared to the 9.5 percent cause of death estimated in this month’s BMJ article. The pathologists involved in the 2015 study also concluded that obtaining a second opinion is indeed valuable.

Getting a second opinion for your medical condition is now easy, and most primary care physicians welcome the view of an outside specialist. YourDoctors.Online (@YourDocOnline) offers expert second opinions from doctors at the top of their fields in North America. At the price of US$200-600 per life-saving consult (which includes a medical panel review, a medical report by specialist referred / selected by patient along with potential audio / video call and a 14 day clarification period backed by 30 day money back guarantee), the wealth of experience our physicians have is unprecedented. You deserve the best diagnosis and care, and an expert second opinion will allow you to make an informed decision concerning your medical condition. Do not become a statistic. Place your health first by obtaining a second opinion that could have a positive impact on your life.

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