Unfortunately, diagnostic errors are the most common form of medical malpractice in the United States. Individuals should be able to trust medical professionals to give them a proper diagnosis and help them obtain the proper treatment. After all, they have a duty of care to their patients.
Yet, more than 12 million people suffer misdiagnoses each year. But what medical conditions do doctors most frequently fail to diagnose?
Study finds three conditions are most commonly misdiagnosed
According to a recent 2019 study, the most common misdiagnoses that cause patients the most harm include:
- Infections, such as sepsis;
- Cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack or serious blood clot; and
- Cancer, particularly lung cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Of course, there are many other conditions that doctors commonly misdiagnose, such as Parkinson’s, Lupus and multiple sclerosis. However, the study found that the three conditions listed above harm 75% of all patients who suffer misdiagnoses.
What should individuals do if they suffer a misdiagnosis?
The study also found that the most common reasons for these errors included:
- Doctors failing to order the proper tests;
- Doctors focusing on one diagnosis and writing off other possibilities; and
- Doctors misinterpreting symptoms.
If individuals find themselves in these situations and suspect that they have been misdiagnosed, there are a few important steps they should take:
- Individuals should record all of the symptoms they experience;
- Research these symptoms but use reliable and official sources;
- Seek a second opinion from another trustworthy medical professional.
The three most common diagnostic errors also happen to be some of the most dangerous medical conditions. Therefore, individuals must not be afraid to speak up and advocate for themselves, so they can get the care they need.