Medical researchers discovered that physicians made diagnostic errors resulting in injuries, disability or death that involved almost 10% of their patients. As reported by Health.com, cancer, infection and cardiovascular issues reflected the most common conditions that doctors misdiagnosed or failed to detect in time.
A failure to screen or treat a patient complaining of symptoms for the first time may lead to a delayed diagnosis. A practitioner who brushes off a valid complaint may cause harm to the patient, especially if the patient continues to experience symptoms.
A failure to diagnose cancer or cardiovascular conditions may have serious consequences
Several hospital or office visits later, a patient’s cancerous condition may have progressed to a catastrophic stage with lasting damage. Nearly 23% of lung cancer patients studied experienced a “meaningful” delay in receiving their diagnosis.
Stroke symptoms that physicians may ignore include headaches or dizziness. They account for about 9% of the diagnostic errors made. When patients do not experience these symptoms at the same time that they display the more obvious signs of a stroke, such as difficulty speaking or a facial droop, a doctor might ignore them.
Researchers find women face a higher risk of misdiagnosis
Women reportedly face a higher chance of a heart attack misdiagnosis. As noted by Nature.com, physicians initially misdiagnose women following a heart attack 50% more frequently than men. Blood clots also occur in women more often, yet doctors may fail to prescribe them medication to prevent clotting.
Medical practitioners owe a duty of care to provide patients with an accurate diagnosis and timely treatments that reflect their medical conditions. When critical issues remain untreated because of a doctor’s diagnostic error and lead to injuries, paralysis or death, a harmed individual or family may file a legal action.