New Study Finds That Emergency Rooms Are Dangerously Underdiagnosing Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries
A new study published in Annals of Emergency Medicine has revealed that emergency rooms are regularly underdiagnosing mild traumatic brain injuries (which are often synonymous with concussions) to the detriment of patients, who are, as a result, failing to receive proper treatment. Unfortunately, these injuries can lead to chronic neuropsychological symptoms (also known as “post-concussive syndrome”), and are even linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the degenerative brain disease that has received significant attention in the media in association with the NFL and severe brain injuries incurred in football and other contact sports injuries.
Evidence from the study indicates that, specifically, less than 50 percent of patients considered to be at high risk for mild traumatic brain injuries (TBI) were evaluated on the issues that were recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. In addition, only approximately six percent of these patients received the correct ICD-10 code. Not only were these patients misdiagnosed, and thus left the hospital without proper evaluation and care, but they also failed to receive the appropriate discharge education.
The Problem Stems from an Overreliance On CT Scans
Emergency rooms are known as “primary gateways” to the medical system, and yet, they are regularly failing to diagnose basic brain injuries. For example, according to studies, almost 30 percent of mild TBI patients who had normal CT scans then showed trauma-related abnormalities when provided with an MRI.
These misdiagnoses demonstrate that emergency rooms need to, instead, rely on novel diagnostic tests, and this is a serious public health concern. Current methods relied on to diagnose patients in these hospitals, which include CT scans and interviewing patients, are simply failing to detect these types of injuries, where symptoms can fail to show up at first, and diagnoses were still poor when patients reported a loss of consciousness. This should be a red flag that additional tests are needed because the patient could have a concussion. Researchers have found that CT scans represent “low value testing,” in addition to presenting significant radiation risk, and 91 percent of them are failing to reveal traumatic intracranial abnormalities.
If You or A Loved One Has Been Harmed by A Misdiagnosis, Contact A Rhode Island Medical Malpractice Attorney
Medical malpractice is not limited to serious errors made during surgery. They include misdiagnoses like these made in emergency rooms, which can lead to serious consequences for some, who can end up suffering from devastating long-term injuries. In fact, the largest medical malpractice award in the history of Rhode Island involved a case where errors were made, injuring a patient being treated at Rhode Island Hospital.
If you have suffered from a misdiagnosis here in Rhode Island, know that our team has more than 40 years of experience helping those injured by medical negligence. Contact a Providence medical malpractice lawyer at the Kiselica Law Firm today to find out more about our services.