Getting a timely and correct diagnosis of an illness or disease is the first step in treating it and alleviating any pain or suffering you may be experiencing. Unfortunately, however, every medical problem is not always identified accurately or promptly. That can result in persistent physical discomfort, and at worst, can lead to dangerous complications, inappropriate or unnecessary treatment or even death. It could also constitute medical malpractice.
A medical issue that goes undetected or is diagnosed later than it should have been is not uncommon. Approximately 100,000 people in this country annually lose their lives or end up with lasting disabilities because of diagnostic mistakes.
According to Healthline.com, researchers at Johns Hopkins University zeroed in on three categories of diseases, namely cancers, infections and vascular ailments, that, in their opinion, top the list of frequently misdiagnosed medical conditions.
Breaking down the findings from Johns Hopkins University
“About half” of “severe misdiagnosis-related harms” can be attributed to just a handful of diseases, the researchers state. Stroke, sepsis and lung cancer rank highest. Among the others are:
- Breast cancer
- Blood clots
- Prostate cancer
- Heart attack
- Skin cancer
Typical causes of inaccurate diagnoses
Faulty judgment by medical professionals is a leading reason for misdiagnoses. That means failure to think about a broad enough range of possibilities when making a diagnosis, not interpreting tests or symptoms properly, or not requesting a test that would have spotlighted the patient’s problem.
Be vigilant and pro-active
Patients have the option of seeking a second opinion from a different physician or specialist if they want to confirm or disprove a diagnosis. You also have options if you were hurt by a diagnosis that was off the mark.