While there is a lot of attention given to medical errors related to surgeries and prescribing incorrect medications, Florida residents may not be aware of another all too common source of harm to patients: diagnostic errors. Failure to diagnose a medical condition correctly or in a timely manner is estimated to occur in about 10 to 20 percent of medical cases, which can lead to serious harm to the patient.
Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions, according to a study from the Internet Journal of Family Practice, include pulmonary emboli, heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, cancer and strokes. These are serious conditions, and in the case of pulmonary emboli, which are blood clots found in the lungs, 30 percent of individuals who go without treatment will die due to a misdiagnosis.
There may be several reasons that diagnostic problems occur. A patient may not show common symptoms associated with a certain condition or, like in the case of heart disease, symptoms are lacking. Often, many symptoms are simply overlooked or misunderstood by physicians. To ensure that individuals receive proper care, they could seek a second opinion if they do not feel their condition is being treated properly.
Failing to correctly diagnose an illness or other types of doctor errors could cause serious harm to a patient such as worsening his or her condition. Mistakes made in a medical setting may lead to extended hospital stays, permanent disability and even death. With the assistance of a medical malpractice attorney, an individual may be able to pursue legal action against a doctor or hospital as well as seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other expenses.
Source: Mother Nature Network, “12 illnesses that are commonly misdiagnosed“, Melissa Breyer, July 18, 2014