How Common Is Medical Misdiagnosis?

Doctor writing down notes

When you are sick and go to the doctor, you expect your physician will figure out your illness and help you feel better soon. However, sometimes, that doesn’t happen. Sometimes, a doctor will misdiagnose a patient or doesn’t find the right diagnosis quickly. Unfortunately, medical misdiagnosis is more common than you may think. According to one 2020 study, about 10% to 15% of patients receive an incorrect diagnosis from a health care provider, resulting in 100 to 200 million misdiagnoses in the United States in a year.

When misdiagnosis impacts a patient

Not all cases of misdiagnosis cause serious harm to a patient. But sometimes, a misdiagnosis can lead to serious complications, even premature death. For example, if a doctor misses a cancer diagnosis in a patient, the patient’s cancer could spread. If the cancer spreads quickly, it could reduce the patient’s chances at recovery and even hasten their death. If a stroke patient isn’t diagnosed correctly, doctors won’t provide the proper medication and treatment. Without this treatment, the patient could suffer life-long disabilities because of the stroke or even die.

Some of the most common misdiagnosed conditions include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Cancer (most frequently lymphoma, breast cancer, sarcomas and melanoma)
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Lyme disease

That’s why it is important that if you are ill and don’t see your symptoms subside with medical treatment, you should get a second opinion. If your doctor diagnoses you with a serious condition, such as cancer or lupus, you also need to have your diagnosis confirmed by a second doctor.

When misdiagnosis becomes medical malpractice

If you discover you are a victim of misdiagnosis and that led to you experiencing true harm to your health or suffering a life-long disability, you need to contact a medical malpractice attorney. With a medical malpractice suit, you can hold a physician accountable for the misdiagnosis that impacted your health. You can receive compensation to cover your medical costs and costs for your future care.

You shouldn’t be afraid to be an advocate for your health and stand up for your rights. Sometimes, that’s a necessary step to ensure you get justice for the suffering you experienced because of a misdiagnosis.

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