Most people trust their medical providers. But all too often, doctors and nurses make mistakes that put innocent and unsuspecting patients like you at risk of being seriously injured or killed. There are a lot of different ways that these mistakes can occur, too, from surgical errors to avoidable birth injuries and medication mistakes.
But one of the most common ways that people are harmed by their healthcare providers is by failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing a medical condition. This week on the blog, we want to look at some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions so that you’re more aware of where these errors may lie.
The three most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions
There are a lot of medical conditions out there. Yet, doctors have a lot of knowledge, experience, and testing equipment at their disposal to help them accurately and timely diagnose patients. However, these conditions continue to see high rates of misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis:
- Cancer: Cancer can affect any part of your body. While most of them can be easily diagnosed with proper testing, far too often mistakes are made that render a diagnosis inaccurate. For example, lung cancer is oftentimes diagnosed as pneumonia, tuberculosis, or some other condition that’s less severe. Other cancers that are often misdiagnosed include colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. Cancers are often missed in young people, too, as their symptoms are often chalked up to benign conditions, resulting in medical professionals foregoing necessary testing.
- Vascular-related events: This category of conditions include heart attacks, strokes, and embolisms. One reasons why these conditions are often misdiagnosed is because symptoms can vary based on a number of factors, including your gender. Women often experience different symptoms than men after suffering a heart attack, and some people only exhibit a short extreme headache after a stroke that’s oftentimes misattributed to migraines.
- Infections: Many infections can be quickly and effectively treated if caught quickly enough. But when infections are left unchecked, they can run rampant, impacting significant portions of your body, including your organs. In fact, sometimes sepsis, which is an infection in the blood, occurs, which can quickly result in death. Some studies estimate that as many as a third of all hospital deaths are attributable to sepsis. That said, doctors often delay in diagnosing infections, or they simply miss where the infection originates.
What should you do if you’ve been misdiagnosed?
If your doctor fails to diagnose your condition or misdiagnoses it, then there’s a good chance that your medical condition will worsen. This can even lead to your otherwise treatable condition turning terminal.
Any harm caused by a failure to diagnose or a misdiagnosis is unacceptable. But the only way to hold an errant medical professional accountable is to take legal action against them. Before stepping into the legal arena, though, you need to make sure that you have strong evidence to support your claim.
When analyzing your case, then, you’ll want to secure your medical records, talk to those who were responsible for your care at the time, and consult with a medical expert who may be able to testify as to any missteps made along the way. You’ll also want to keep track of your economic and non-economic damages so that you can accurately show how medical malpractice resulted in your harms.
Be thorough in building your legal claim
There’s a lot that goes into a medical malpractice claim. If you put forth anything less than your best case, then you might be at risk of recovering less than you deserve or even seeing your claim denied altogether.
That’s why you need to be comprehensive in the preparation of your case. While reading up on medical malpractice cases and the law can be helpful here, you should also make sure that you’re surrounding yourself with those who can help you throughout the process.