Whether it’s a headache that won’t go away or tremors in your legs, when you have inexplicable symptoms, you go to a doctor for help. Medical professionals have special training to diagnose patients based on their reported symptoms and the results of various medical tests.
Unfortunately, doctors sometimes rush to judgment about what causes symptoms and ignore serious potential causes, like cancer. Other times, a doctor not believing a patient or not listening to them will contribute to their failure to diagnose them. How often do patients go without the care and diagnoses they need?
The consequences of diagnostic mistakes
You can’t receive the treatment that could cure you or stop doing things that contribute to your condition if you don’t understand your medical problems. When a doctor diagnoses you, it becomes much easier for you to address your symptoms as well as the underlying cause.
Sadly, about 100,000 people every year experience significant medical consequences because their doctor failed to correctly diagnose their condition. Certain conditions are more likely to pose diagnostic issues for professionals, but even common issues can go undiagnosed.
The longer someone goes without an accurate diagnosis, the more their symptoms might progress. Delays can also limit treatment options. Especially when someone has a progressive condition or has just experienced a possibly life-threatening medical event like a stroke, diagnostic delays can be a life-and-death mistake.
Understanding how frequently misdiagnosis occurs will help you advocate for yourself or a loved one when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, a mistake that could constitute medical malpractice.