Whenever New York residents and those across the country visit the doctor, they typically have their blood pressure checked. This is to ensure that a patient is not suffering from high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, strokes and other potentially dangerous conditions. However, many doctors still use manual devices, which could lead to a misdiagnosis.
Part of the problem is that manual devices can give a wrong reading if they are not used correctly. In fact, a study published in a Canadian journal found that 20 percent of Canadian patients who were being treated for high blood pressure did not actually have the condition. This means that these patients were taking medication that they did not need. Wrong measurements are so prevalent because, in addition to not taking the measurements correctly, many doctors take measurements the minute a patient walks through the door. White-coat hypertension, a phenomenon that causes artificially high blood pressure around doctors and nurses, can also result in inaccurate measurements.
To prevent a high blood pressure misdiagnosis, the Canadian Hypertension Education Program Guidelines recommend that all doctors use automated devices. These devices have several benefits to them. For example, they take several measurements, making them more precise. Further, automated devices can be used while the doctor is not in the room, potentially preventing an artificially high blood pressure caused by white-coat hypertension.
Medical errors involving a high blood pressure misdiagnosis can have a negative impact on a patient, especially if the patient experiences side effects after taking a medication he or she did not actually need. If the patient suffered harm as a direct result of an inaccurate high blood pressure measurement, a medical malpractice attorney may file a claim against the doctor and negotiate a settlement out of court. In rare cases, the attorney may litigate if an acceptable settlement cannot be reached.