Experienced Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer explains who’s at risk
We trust doctors to diagnose what’s wrong with us when we’re sick or suffering from a serious illness. Unfortunately, many doctors make mistakes. In fact, recent studies find that doctors misdiagnose medical conditions 10-20 percent of the time. Why are these mistakes happening?
How common are medical misdiagnosis errors?
Several recent studies have illustrated just how common medical misdiagnosis errors can be in this country. One recent study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore and Boston-based data analytics firm CRICO Strategies estimate that 10 percent of patients are misdiagnosed each year. Another study conducted by the Mayo Clinic estimates that 20 percent of patients are misdiagnosed by medical professionals.
“Knowing that more than one out of every five referral patients may be completely [and] incorrectly diagnosed is troubling — not only because of the safety risks for these patients prior to correct diagnosis, but also because of the patients we assume are not being referred at all,” said lead author James Naessens, a Mayo Clinic health care policy researcher, in a statement published by AARP.
Which medical conditions are often misdiagnosed?
While misdiagnosis errors can involve many different types of medical conditions, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore found that misdiagnosis errors often involve some of the most serious medical conditions, including:
- Heart attacks
- Serious infections
In particular, researchers found that spinal abscesses were misdiagnosed 62.1 percent of the time.
Why do medical professionals often misdiagnose medical conditions?
There’s no one reason why doctors or medical professionals often misdiagnose medical conditions, but some of the most common reasons, including ones identified by researchers, include:
- Doctors mistaking serious health problems for something less serious
- Inadequate screening (especially in cases of cancer diagnosis)
- Inexperienced medical professionals
- Misreading test results
- Delay in diagnosis
Whatever the reason why doctors or other medical professionals fail to make the correct diagnosis, it’s important for people harmed by such mistakes to take strong legal action to protect their rights.
What should I do if I suspect a medical misdiagnosis error?
If you believe a medical professional misdiagnosed your medical condition or a medical problem affecting a family member, we strongly advise you to take the following steps:
- Seek immediate medical attention. Your health and well-being could be at risk.
- If you’re concerned about seeing the same doctor, seek a second opinion.
- Do not talk to the hospital that misdiagnosed you if they contact you.
- Do not talk to the doctor’s insurance company if they contact you.
- Do not post anything on social media about your misdiagnosis.
It’s important to be cautious if a medical professional has misdiagnosed you. Often, their insurance companies and attorneys are searching for any reason to reduce or deny your claim. Make sure you take your medical misdiagnosis seriously right from the start. Talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney at Cherundolo Law Firm PLLC today to learn more about the legal options available to you.