Certain conditions are commonly misdiagnosed. Doctors' failing to be attentive to symptoms, not taking preventative measures or not ordering follow-up tests can result in wrong diagnoses or late diagnoses. Here are the five most commonly misdiagnosed conditions:
1. Infections: Infections are the most commonly misdiagnosed condition, in part due to the lack of follow-up tests by physicians. It is also sometimes challenging for patients to always accurately relay their symptoms.
2. Neoplasms: More often known as cancer, neoplasms are an abnormal growth of tissue. One in eight cancers are misdiagnosed, with melanoma being the most commonly misdiagnosed. Some of the reasons for misdiagnosis are failing to order the necessary tests or not considering subtle symptoms.
3. Myocardial infarctions: Also known as heart attacks, myocardial infarctions are often diagnosed too late. It's important for patients to relay all of their symptoms to their physician, which may include chest tightness or pain, pain in the back, arms or neck, lightheadedness, fatigue, anxiety and abnormal heartbeat.
4. Pulmonary emboli: A pulmonary embolism is a blockage in the artery of a lung, often caused by a blood clot. Following surgery is when patients can face the greatest risk of developing a blood clot, and pulmonary emboli are the main cause of preventable death among hospital patients. Improving the chance of a correct diagnosis begins with physicians better screening for patients who face an increased risk for developing a blood clot post-surgery.
5. Cardiovascular disease: Failing to take into account subtler symptoms and not ordering follow-up tests results in cardiovascular disease being misdiagnosed by physicians. Patients must also do their best to relay all of their symptoms and should be proactive in having preventative screenings.
How misdiagnoses harm patients
According to recent data, the majority of Americans will face a medical misdiagnosis or late diagnosis at least once over the course of their life. Even more troubling is the fact that diagnostic errors are responsible for 10 percent of deaths among patients.
Some conditions, even the more serious ones, for example breast cancer, can often be treated successfully when detected early on, but can spread and become life-threatening when undetected. Diagnostic errors result in treatment delays, failure to treat or improper treatment, all of which have devastating effects on patients and their families.
If you or a family member has been harmed by a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis, contact the Law Offices of Gary Osborne & Associates for assistance in obtaining consultation. Call to schedule an initial free consultation with an experienced lawyer.