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Antibiotics used inappropriately in many cases

A study published in a May issue of Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology says that one of the leading causes of misuse of antibiotics in Tennessee and around the country is misdiagnosis. Researchers looked at data from 500 inpatient cases from the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, and it was discovered that 95 percent of cases involving the misuse of antibiotics involved either a misdiagnosis, an indeterminate diagnosis or a lack of diagnosis.

Although antibiotics were used in the vast majority of cases involving an incorrect diagnosis, even patients whose condition was correctly identified were still somewhat likely to end up having antibiotics administered for the wrong reasons. Nearly 40 percent percent of cases with a correct diagnosis still involved the incorrect use of antibiotics. The improper use of antibiotics was exacerbated by the fact that researchers discovered only 58 percent of patients were correctly diagnosed.

When antibiotics are used inappropriately, it can lead to them being less effective for a patient over time, so when they are needed, they do not work as well as they should. Based on the correlation between incorrect use and inaccurate diagnoses, researchers believe that focusing on improving diagnoses should help to reduce the issue of incorrect antibiotic usage.

Although surgical errors tend to get more attention than misdiagnosis, both types of mistakes can have long-term negative consequences for patients. People depend on medical professionals to determine what is wrong with them and treat their condition appropriately, and mot doing so can lead to the development of new conditions while failing to address what is wrong. A lawyer may be able to help patients understand their legal rights and options if they have been harmed by a medical professional.


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