Patients undergoing medical tests in New York might not realize that many tests are not 100 percent accurate. Factors among people, such as genetics, could result in inaccurate results and a misdiagnosis. A study conducted by PLOS Medicine revealed the potential cost savings on health care when infants in South Africa received two tests for HIV instead of one before continuing treatment.
Medical practitioners knew that the nucleic acid amplification tests used to detect HIV in infants had shortcomings. For this reason, the World Health Organization issued guidelines calling for a second HIV test to confirm an initial diagnosis. According to the PLOS Medicine study, 128 out of 1,000 infants received antiretroviral therapy when only one test was used to diagnose HIV. When physicians used a second test, only 1 in 1,000 infants needed HIV treatment.
With the use of confirmatory testing, the health care costs of treating HIV-infected infants dropped. Over a lifetime, infants who underwent the second test saved $1,790 in health care costs. PLOS Medicine estimated that additional testing only cost about $25 per infant. When medical personnel misdiagnose an infant with HIV, the ensuing treatment adds to medical costs and exposes patients to stress.
Because an accurate diagnosis represents a critical step toward effective medical treatment, a person who suffers because of misread test results or a physician’s failure to diagnose a disease could have experienced medical malpractice. An attorney might aid someone with recovering damages. To build a case, an attorney may be able to seek testimony from an independent medical consultant to confirm the delivery of substandard care. An attorney may also advise the person about the adequacy of a settlement offer and help the person choose between acceptance or going to court.