According to a study recently released by the Institute of Medicine, it's estimated that at least one in every 20 adults faces either a wrong, missing or delayed diagnosis. While this small, 5 percent rate seems relatively incidental, it's not. In fact, it's believed that these diagnostic errors are responsible for as much as 10 percent of all patient fatalities each year.
The biggest problem with misdiagnosis is that it can lead to patients having to undergo inappropriate treatment for one ailment all the while delaying necessary treatment for another. Among the most common misdiagnosed medical ailments are heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, cancer, strokes and drug overdoses.
With heart attacks, the symptoms that tend to rear their head prior to an episode such as this occurring are not the same for everyone. For some, initial signs of cardiac arrest may appear as neck, back or shoulder pain.
For others, they may experience the stereotypical pain in their chest and left arm. And then there are some that may experience fatigue, cold sweats, dizziness or nausea, symptoms that are very similar to what one would experience if he or she were coming down with the flu.
As for cancer, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), misdiagnosis of the disease accounts for more than 10 percent of all doctor errors. In this case, doctors who diagnose patients at an advanced stage with this invasive disease do so because they failed to order a biopsy after a test came back with abnormal results.
Pulmonary embolisms account for the third most common type of medical error. With this type of ailment, a blood clot travels though the body's vascular system, ultimately arriving in the patient's lungs. According to JAMA, more than 4.5 percent of all doctors polled reported having missed warning signs of this.
Patients that have a pulmonary embolism can experience symptoms not all that different from what someone with pneumonia, asthma or a cold might also have. A doctor running a battery of tests can rule out an embolism and limit the impact a delayed diagnosis can have.
Medical errors such as these claim patient lives every day. If your loved one has suffered a decline in his or her health or has died as a result of a failure to diagnose, then you may wish to have a Tucson medical malpractice attorney review your case with you.
Source: Fox News, "The 3 cancers doctors miss most, plus 4 other commonly misdiagnosed conditions," Lacie Glover, accessed June 23, 2017