You may have heard horror stories of people who have gotten misdiagnosed and as a result, it caused them suffering or even death. Unfortunately, getting misdiagnosed by a doctor isn't all that uncommon. According to the most recent statistics, 1 in 20 adults in the United States gets misdiagnosed each year in an outpatient medical center. This number is equivalent to 12 million Americans.
How Does Someone Get Misdiagnosed?
It may seem hard to believe that someone who went to medical school and has received all the right training can still misdiagnose an illness or condition. Unfortunately, it does happen, and one of the reasons is that the symptoms that are presented can sometimes be similar to that other of types of diseases.
A misdiagnosis can also happen when someone has a rare disease or the symptoms are abnormal for that particular condition.
What Are Some Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions?
Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions include:
- Certain cancers, especially breast cancer, lymphoma, and melanoma
- Heart attacks, especially for women
- Celiac disease, which is often diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Lyme disease
- Pulmonary embolism
- Fibromyalgia, which is usually mistaken for lupus or arthritis
In order to avoid getting misdiagnosed, medical professionals recommend taking along a list of questions to ask at your next doctor's appointment. You should also bring other types of information for your doctor to look over, including copies of all your lab and blood work, the results of any diagnostic testing, a description of your medical history, and a list of medications you are currently taking.
What Happens If I Get Misdiagnosed?
Even if you have taken all the necessary precautions and have given your doctor all the recommended information and you still get misdiagnosed, you will want to hold the health care professional accountable for their mistake. You may have a case for medical malpractice if you can prove the following:
- You and the doctor that misdiagnosed you had an established relationship
- The doctor did not provide treatment in a competent manner
- The doctor's negligence caused you harm or injury
It is true that doctors are only human and they do make mistakes. However, if their mistake has caused you pain and suffering, and you can prove that all of the above happened as a result of getting misdiagnosed, you should not hesitate to contact a medical malpractice attorney. If you think you have a legal claim, most medical malpractice attorneys will provide a free consultation.