By Virginia Buchanan

November 21st, 2012  2:00pm

A researcher from one of the world’s most respected hospital affiliates, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has released the findings of a meta-analysis of 31 autopsy-based studies in which it was demonstrated that as many as 28% of adults who die each year in the intensive care unit die with a misdiagnosis. Moreover, nearly 1 in 10 die with a potentially fatal “major missed diagnosis” such as pulmonary embolism or myocardial infarction.

Dr. Bradford Winters, MD, Ph.D., an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine at John Hopkins, led the research and discussed his findings in this week’s issue of Anesthesiology News .  He stated that the findings may be an underestimate of the number of missed diagnoses, since it included only those studies where autopsies were performed and the diagnoses at autopsy could be compared to the diagnoses in the medical records.

The meta-analysis included data compiled from 1966 to 2011.

The full study, including its limitations, is published in the British Medical Journal.  You can learn more about medical malpractice here.

Virginia Buchanan is a shareholder at Levin, Papantonio.  She has served on the Board of Directions of the Florida Bar Foundation and has been Treasurer of ABOTA, Chairperson of the Civil Process Server Grievance Committeee and has been a member of the Chief Judge’s Council on Children. She currently is a member of the Women’s Caucus of the Florida Justice Association.

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