Pennsylvania residents may be less likely to die from cancer than they used to be, according to the American Cancer Society. The health organization released a report on Jan. 5 showing evidence that cancer death rates have gone down by 25 percent since 1991. The declining rate has resulted in over 2.1 million fewer cancer deaths.
Mesothelioma cancer is caused by exposure to asbestos. For most patients in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., the disease develops in the lungs, but it can also occur in the heart, abdomen or testicles. Testicular mesothelioma is rare, with only around 100 known cases. That means it is also frequently misdiagnosed.
A study presented at a meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology revealed that many people in Pennsylvania and around the country may have been misdiagnosed with a penicillin allergy or may have outgrown the allergy since they were diagnosed with it as children. In some cases, people may develop a rash or some other condition when they are given penicillin that is mistakenly identified as an allergic reaction.
According to a study published in JAMA Dermatology, the bacterial skin infection cellulitis is widely misdiagnosed. People in Pennsylvania and throughout the country who are diagnosed with cellulitis may actually have a condition known as pseudocellulitis that is not treatable with antibiotics.
For many Pennsylvania residents who reside in a nursing home, the trips to and from the hospital can result in medical errors and poor followup. It is estimated that these errors cause serious harm to one in four nursing home residents. According to research from an Indiana University study, having nurse practitioners can significantly improve the transfer process to reduce the number of errors.
Pennsylvania residents sometimes use online symptoms checkers to try to self-diagnose themselves when they are experiencing health problems. A study reports that doctors are more accurate than online symptom checkers are, but they still make diagnostic errors in around 15 percent of cases involving common conditions.
Patients in Pennsylvania hospitals can die as a result of their injury or illness or because a health care provider commits an error. In the 1999 report 'To Err is Human," the U.S. Institute of Medicine estimated that there are between 44,000 and 98,000 hospital deaths every year caused by preventable medical errors. Since the report was released, improving hospital safety and preventing medical errors has been a top priority for researchers and regulatory organizations.
Pennsylvania residents who have elderly parents or who are aging themselves may be interested to learn that approximately one in five Alzheimer's cases may actually be misdiagnosed. This is because there is no test that can provide a 100 percent accurate diagnosis. For those who are misdiagnosed, the stress and delays in treatment for other disorders can be detrimental.
It is common for patients in Pennsylvania hospitals to put a lot of trust in their practitioners. However, doctors are capable of committing egregious errors, and patients must remain vigilant about their own health care experience. Though doctors save many people's lives, they have also caused patient deaths and injuries.
While most doctors place a strong emphasis on safety, Pennsylvania patients can still be at risk for becoming ill or injured due to medication errors at a health care facility. Many of these errors are associated with IV and oral liquid medication. In some cases, a lack of standardization can contribute to these types of mistakes.