A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor makes a diagnostic error — that is, a mistake in identifying their patient’s illness, injury, or other health condition. A doctor who fails to correctly diagnose their patient’s conditions puts that patient at risk of receiving incorrect courses of treatment and potentially serious health complications.
Patients with misdiagnosed diseases often need additional medical care. With that comes extra healthcare expenses, unnecessary missed time at work, and other health consequences. But injured patients have the right to file medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors whose professional negligence caused them harm. Keep reading to learn more about misdiagnoses and your legal options if it happened to you.
What Are Commonly Misdiagnosed Diseases?
Correctly diagnosing a patient’s condition is the first and most important treatment step. Many medical conditions have overlapping signs and symptoms, and it’s a doctor’s job to order the tests and exams necessary to find the right diagnosis. The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions include:
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Other cancers
- Brain hemorrhage
- Celiac disease
- Lyme disease
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart disease
- Heart failure
- Heart attack
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Thyroid conditions
- Aortic dissections
Even if you have a relatively benign illness, a misdiagnosis can be a big problem. Missing out on the treatment you need could worsen your condition, while receiving the wrong treatment could instigate new health issues. If you have received a diagnosis that led to a serious health complication or injury, discuss your case with an experienced Indiana medical malpractice lawyer.
What Is the Most Misdiagnosed Disease?
It is difficult to say which disease doctors misdiagnose most often, especially because doctors are likelier to misdiagnose uncommon conditions. However, diagnostic errors do not occur equally as often across all diseases.
One recent study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CRICO Strategies examined several health conditions from three categories that collectively represent approximately 75 percent of all serious misdiagnosis-related harm. The “Big Three” categories include vascular events, infections, and cancers.
According to researchers, 15 conditions from the Big Three categories accounted for nearly half of all serious misdiagnosis injuries in medical malpractice cases. Diagnostic errors in the form of false negatives were most common among patients with spinal abscesses, 62.1 percent of whom were misdiagnosed. Serious misdiagnosis-related injuries were also most common among spinal abscess patients, 35.6 percent of whom suffered serious harm because of a diagnostic error.
What to Do if You Have Been Misdiagnosed
If you know or suspect your doctor misdiagnosed your condition, you can take the following steps to protect your personal health and legal rights.
Talk to Your Doctor
First, consider talking to your doctor about your concerns.
Get a Second Opinion
If you don’t feel comfortable confronting your doctor or are dissatisfied with their response, seek a second opinion from another doctor. The right diagnosis can ensure you get the right treatment.
Follow the Treatment Plan
Once you have the correct diagnosis from a new doctor, follow the treatment plan they prescribe and attend all follow-up appointments as necessary.
Collect Documents of Your Misdiagnosis
Gather evidence to support your misdiagnosis claim, including items like medical records, doctor’s office bills, and photos of visible injuries or infections.
Speak to an Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorney
Contact a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney in Indiana for help.
Contact Our Indiana Medical Malpractice Law Firm
If your doctor misdiagnosed your condition and you suffered harm as a result, you can hold them accountable and pursue compensation for your related losses. Contact the Indiana legal team at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson today for your free initial case review.