Statistics show that roughly one in every 20 adults who seek medical attention in an outpatient facility experience a delayed or wrong diagnosis each year. Diagnostic errors account for roughly 10 percent of deaths among patients. As shown, doctor errors and misdiagnosis of conditions are both big problems here in the United States, including right here in New Mexico.
Some illnesses are more commonly misdiagnosed than others, and patients who take the extra step to understand their symptoms can help their chances of receiving a proper diagnosis. Although pain in the left arm and chest are common signs of a heart attack, everyone exhibits different signs. Some may experience flu-like symptoms, such as cold sweats, fatigue and dizziness. Research shows that African-Americans or younger individuals are more likely to be misdiagnosed for a heart attack.
Some cancers are also commonly misdiagnosed, particularly breast, lung and colorectal. Combined, these cancers account for roughly 10 percent of doctor errors. Other common misdiagnosed illnesses, diseases and conditions include pulmonary embolisms, drug overdose and stroke.
While patients can help doctors by keeping track of their symptoms and ensuring doctors follow up on any test results that appear abnormal, it is ultimately the doctor’s responsibility to provide patients with an accurate and timely diagnosis. When health care providers fail to do this and the doctor errors lead to serious or fatal complications and injuries to patients, they may be held liable via a medical malpractice claim. New Mexico residents who feel that they have been a victim of a doctor’s error may consider speaking to a legal professional regarding potential options for financial remuneration recovery.