When you imagine an instance of medical malpractice, you probably think of a surgical error. While these happen, they tend to be rarer than other kinds of medical negligence. If you experience medical malpractice, chances are it will be because of a misdiagnosis. But what exactly makes a misdiagnosis so dangerous?
Misdiagnosis Are Extremely Common
According to the British Medical Journal, there are approximately 12 million misdiagnoses in the U.S. each year. Put another way, the average American adult has a roughly 1-in-20 chance of being misdiagnosed. Not only that, but postmortem autopsies suggest about 1-in-10 deaths in healthcare facilities could have been prevented with a proper diagnosis.
Simply put, misdiagnosis is the most common kind of medical malpractice in the United States. The resulting errors in treatment plans mean thousands of Americans lose their lives to medical negligence each year. But what is it that makes a misdiagnosis so dangerous? It’s a two-fold problem.
Misdiagnosis Make Everything Worse
There’s a big difference between a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis. A misdiagnosis means that doctor has reviewed your chart and come up with a treatment plan for an ailment you do not have. The first problem is that an incorrect treatment plan can sometimes negatively interact with the root cause of your ailment, exacerbating your symptoms and inadvertently making your condition worse.
The second issue is that left untreated, the root cause of your illness will often get worse. If you have cancer but the doctor diagnoses and treats you for gallstones, you lose valuable time. In the case of cancer, the disease could metastasize into other parts of your body, something that could have been prevented if the diagnosis were correct the first time.
If you’re following your doctor’s advice and find your condition worsening or you end up in the hospital, it’s more likely to be a case of misdiagnosis. If you suspect you’ve suffered a serious injury because of a misdiagnosis, do not hesitate to reach out to the medical malpractice attorneys at Upton & Hatfield, LLP.
To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced New Hampshire medical malpractice attorney, don’t hesitate to call (603) 716-9777 or send us an email.