Doctors are more likely to misdiagnose a serious condition when it is one of the “big three” diseases. Georgia patients need to remain vigilant when undergoing testing to ensure that their physicians are looking for the right disease or condition, as a misdiagnosis can lead to serious consequences.
What are the top misdiagnosed conditions?
Some studies show that the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions leading to medical malpractice are infections, cancers and diseases involving the vascular system. These categories comprise three-quarters of medical errors that can lead to serious consequences, including death. Some conditions include:
- Lung cancer
- Heart attack, meningitis, and pneumonia
- Leg and lung blood clots
- Skin, prostate and breast cancers
Settings where diagnostic errors occur
A misdiagnosis of vascular problems or infections generally occurs in emergency room settings. Cancer-related misdiagnosis tend to happen in an outpatient setting. Not correctly determining what disease or condition a patient has can happen because symptoms for various diseases can overlap. Often, especially in emergency rooms, improper clinical procedures and analyses happen because medical professionals are in a hurry and enter improper codes on paperwork.
How common are these errors?
Some estimate that misdiagnoses that lead to serious harm occur in approximately 80,000 to 160,000 cases per year. About one-third involve cancer, followed by 22% for vascular problems and 13.5% for infections. When patients experience a delay in arriving at the correct diagnosis, the situation sometime results in death or disability.
Medical malpractice can seriously affect your life
Living with a medical error can cause a lot of pain and suffering for survivors. However, establishing that medical malpractice occurred is often difficult.