Although many people expect doctors to know everything all the time, they, too, are humans who make mistakes. Unfortunately, mistakes in this profession can have more significant consequences than others, holding them to a higher standard when dealing with simple errors. According to a study conducted at the Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence at John Hopkins, nearly 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed by their medical professionals yearly – this leaves roughly four million patients to suffer from injuries and as many as 80,000 wrongfully dead.
Why Does Misdiagnosis Occur?
There are many reasons a misdiagnosis could happen, such as incorrect testing, faulty systems, or an overall lack of competence. Other common causes may include:
Missed or Masked Symptoms
Diagnosing a health diagnosis isn't always as simple as checking off boxes in a compiled list of typical symptoms. Most good doctors don't diagnose a patient's health condition based on what their symptoms are showing but consider all potential factors to help them avoid putting a "band-aid" over a health condition that could be severe.
It is also common for a diagnosis to be missed when the client has multiple conditions that need to be diagnosed. This is typically due to the possibility of the second condition not always being a medical condition. The patient could have a psychological disorder or be a substance user, which can mask symptoms that would otherwise be more apparent.
Accurate and available patient history is essential when seeking a medical diagnosis. One of the main reasons it's important to be open and honest with your doctor is that small details can affect the diagnosis at hand. Sometimes all relevant medical history isn't available to the doctor, making them likely to come up with incorrect conclusions.
Types of Medical Misdiagnosis
Some of the most common types of medical misdiagnosis include:
- Misinterpretation of lab/test results
- Lack of communication with the patient
- False positive or negative
- Failure to recognize complications
- Failure to diagnose a root cause or unrelated disease
- Delayed diagnosis
What Are the Most Frequently Misdiagnosed Conditions?
Almost all medical conditions can be misdiagnosed if the proper practices are not taken. However, some of the most common misdiagnosed medical conditions can be the following:
- Heart attacks
- Cancers (especially breast and prostate)
What Impact Can Misdiagnosed Have on Patients?
Patients misdiagnosed by their medical professional may struggle with many things, such as worsening the condition, confusion, being prescribed the wrong medication, or not being prescribed medication. This is concerning because if the correct medication is not given to the patient, their health condition will fail to improve, and they may also suffer from side effects that could leave them facing unnecessary long-term consequences.
When being treated for medical conditions, it's important that you always follow your intuition. If you feel you have been wrongfully diagnosed, seek the opinion of another medical professional and contact a skilled attorney immediately. Here at Upton & Hatfield, LLP, we have years of experience that could help you fight against your case. Medical misdiagnosis is serious, and if you have been wrongfully diagnosed, you may be owed financial compensation. Let us help you.
Contact us today at (603) 716-9777 to schedule your free consultation with a trusted team member.