Common Misdiagnosis That Doctors Make

When we are sick or hurt we go to the doctors because we trust them to take care of us and to be better equipped and informed on the care that we need to get better. But despite all the advancements in modern medicine, as many as 10 – 15 percent of office visits for a new diagnosis or issue result in a misdiagnosis of some kind! And it is not just exotic rare disease that are being missed- everything from pneumonia to cancer to heart failure can be missed in a doctor’s evaluation. Even if the mistake is caught and corrected later on at a follow-up visit, the misdiagnosis can cost the patient a great deal of money in unneeded tests and medications and can also have tremendous health impacts.

The Dangers of Misdiagnoses

Instances of misdiagnoses and doctor errors occur twice as often at a regular doctor’s practice than at hospitals. However, a mistake made in the hospital or the ER can have more dire consequences- this is because most people are very sick by the time they are in a hospital or sitting in the ER waiting room so a delay in treatment or a mistaken treatment due to misdiagnosis can be devastating and dangerous. This is not a rampant problem, but it is one that has to be addressed and it happens more than most people realize.

As many as 160,000 hospitalized patients die or suffer a significant, permanent injury each year because health care providers either misdiagnose a condition, arrive late at a diagnosis, or miss the problem completely, according to a report by Newman-Toker and colleagues in the August 2013 issue of BMJ Quality and Safety in Health Care (Consumer Reports).

This is why there are specialized branches of law and specialized legal teams dedicated to medical malpractice and doctor error cases.


The 5 problems doctors miss the most

As mentioned before, it is fairly common illnesses that are most often missed or overlooked or treated improperly today.

A March 2013 study of 68 such cases in primary-care settings (a large urban Veterans Affairs facility and community-based clinics) found that the most common ones include urinary-tract infections, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, acute renal failure, and cancer (Consumer Reports).

The reason for this is believed to be tied to the familiarity of these or the fact that some of these conditions easily have other disease and illnesses that they can mimic- pneumonia could be mistaken for a chest cold and many symptoms for severe illnesses such as cancer can easily be attributed to other health conditions.

  • Cancer – the commonly missed are metastatic spread as well as leukemia, lung, and kidney
  • Pneumonia – there are a host of lung issues and infections that are often diagnosed beforehand
  • Congestive heart failure – the early warning signs can often be attributed to other health issues
  • Kidney failure – usually early stages are misdiagnosed as stomach or gallbladder problems
  • Urinary infection – often diagnosed but as a minor case with not enough medical treatments

You are your own best advocate and you need to speak up, ask questions, and fight for your medical rights. When you need legal help or feel you may have a case for a medical malpractice case, give us a call and let us fight for you!