Recently, a union student was incorrectly quarantined from friends and family after a severe diagnosis in Appalachian Regional Healthcare. However, the patient ended up being cleared of the potential infectious disease and begun new treatments.
Health Commissioner, Dr. Angela Dearinger, told the Times Tribune that tests revealed there was no high-level threat employees or surrounding community members.
“This was nothing out of the ordinary for any U.S. hospital,” she said. “After receiving the test results, as well as other details about this incident, we can confirm there was never a risk of highly infectious disease.”
While this situation had a happy ending for the patient, there are circumstances where misdiagnosis is extremely dangerous, especially as the country fights another infectious virus. Hospitals have to be extremely diligent while diagnosing and treating potential Covid-19 patients.
Five mistakes that lead to misdiagnosis
Some reasons why misdiagnosis is currently increasing is due to:
- Lack of accessible tests or tests that read false-negative.
- Assuming symptoms are caused by another illness, such as sinusitis.
- Delays in diagnosis because of appointment cancellations and the rescheduling of elective procedures like biopsies or mammograms.
- Overlooking non-COVID patients due to the hyperfocus on Covid-19 victims.
- Since doctors are still learning about Covid-19, clinicians may miss underlying or secondary conditions that it causes, like respiratory issues.
Misdiagnosis doesn’t always mean a doctor is at fault, especially as they are tackling a rapid amount of new Covid-19 cases every day. However, it doesn’t mean that physicians shouldn’t be held accountable for fatal mistakes that affect their patients.