A 53-year-old Veterans Affairs pathologist stands accused of negligently misdiagnosing more than 3,000 veterans and falsifying records during his 12-year stint as chief pathologist at a VA hospital. Misdiagnosis caused by negligence continues to be a huge problem in many states, including Ohio.

The physician in question, according to the VA, made a mess of about 3,400 cases, in which no fewer than 15 patients died. The pathologist has already pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter and one count of mail fraud.

After being caught intoxicated on the job, the doctor was placed on a kind of probation, in which he was forced to comply with periodic drug and alcohol testing. The pathologist was dedicated, however, and began abusing a drug whose intoxicating effects are similar to alcohol but do not show up on regular drug screens.

When the doctor was arrested for driving under the influence in 2018, the VA finally terminated him, and an investigation of his 12-year tenure began. Investigators now have claimed that the doctor’s misdiagnosis rate was 10 times higher than the national average.

Although it is extremely rare for a doctor to misdiagnose such an astonishing number of cases, misdiagnoses are rampant. According to a study by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, about 12 million Americans receive a misdiagnosis every year, and one-third of them suffer serious injury or death as a result.

When people suspect they may have been given an incorrect diagnosis, the first thing they should do is seek a second opinion. If the two physicians’ opinions differ, the second thing they should do is consult an attorney who is experienced in medical malpractice cases. Misdiagnoses can make treatment more expensive or even ineffective, and negligent physicians deserve to be held accountable.