15 Most Common Medical Misdiagnoses

One of the most important functions that a doctor provides is to diagnose medical conditions when presented with symptoms. A patient rightfully expects their doctor, nurse practitioner, or other health care provider to provide competent care, including an accurate diagnosis. The reality is that doctors are human and make mistakes, sometimes misdiagnosing health conditions – there are even common medical misdiagnoses. When a health care provider fails to meet the medical standard of care, they may be liable for injuries they cause.

Misdiagnosed health conditions are a significant source of injury in modern medical care as patients are left to suffer with worsening symptoms. Research shows that a shocking 12 million American adults are misdiagnosed every year in outpatient settings. That number represents about five percent of all patients, though some health experts believe that the number is actually much higher. The major problem with misdiagnosis is that it can lead to the progression of disease or prescription of inappropriate treatment that leads to further injury. In some cases, misdiagnosis causes the death of the individual who never receives appropriate treatment. Sadly, it is estimated that 40,000 to 80,000 people die each year from diagnostic failures in U.S. hospitals. A report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine states that most of us will experience a missed or delayed diagnosis in our lifetimes.

If you believe that you or a family member was injured as a result of a medical misdiagnosis, contact a local medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. Generally, there is a three-year statute of limitations to bring a negligence claim in Washington State.

15 Most Common Medical Misdiagnoses

Misdiagnosis is arguably one of the most dangerous medical errors that doctors can make because it can delay appropriate treatment. A recent study published in JAMA Network Open revealed some of the most common medical misdiagnoses in outpatient clinics and academic medical centers:

  1. Colorectal cancer
  2. Lung cancer
  3. Breast cancer
  4. Heart failure
  5. Heart attacks
  6. Prostate cancer
  7. Stroke
  8. Sepsis
  9. Bladder cancer
  10. Pulmonary and aortic embolisms
  11. Brain hemorrhage
  12. Pneumonia
  13. Chronic health conditions such as lupus and fibromyalgia
  14. Kidney failure
  15. Urinary tract infections

Why does misdiagnosis occur?

There are a wide range of reasons for misdiagnosis. Sometimes it’s more than one reason combined. Some common reasons are:

  • Patient doesn’t accurately describe their symptoms or leaves out certain symptoms
  • The doctor mistakenly attributes symptoms to another disease that comes with similar symptoms
  • The doctor fails to consider the patient’s medical and family history
  • The doctor doesn’t carefully listen or dismisses symptoms because they don’t believe the patient falls into a certain risk category or blames the symptoms on something else such as obesity
  • The doctor orders the wrong diagnostic test(s)
  • Test results are read incorrectly
  • Failure to refer to a specialist for diagnosis due to disorganized medical records or other reasons

How do I know if I have a medical malpractice case for misdiagnosis?

Patients may have a medical malpractice case for misdiagnosis if it can be proved that:

  1. There was a doctor/patient relationship
  2. The doctor provided negligent treatment (failed to fulfill their duty of care)
  3. The patient’s injuries were caused by negligent care
  4. The patient suffered damages such as additional medical bills, lost wages, disability, or death

Only a medical malpractice attorney can assess your situation and decide if you have a case for medical malpractice. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a well-reviewed local lawyer for a free consultation.

The Seattle Personal Injury Lawyers You Want on Your Side

The personal injury attorneys at Tinker Law Firm have been winning birth injury, medical malpractice, and personal injury cases for individuals and their loved ones in Seattle and across Washington State since 1974. We seek justice for injury victims who have been harmed by preventable medical errors, and the negligent or abusive actions of another. Our clients pay no fees or expenses to file a personal injury claim; our firm advances out-of-pocket expenses and is only reimbursed when we recover a settlement on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims in Washington State have a statute of limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time from the date of the injury.

Call us now at 206-842-1000 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled and experienced injury attorneys.