Errors in diagnoses are not uncommon

Medical patients in Arkansas might be surprised to learn that according to some sources, at least 12 million cases of misdiagnosis occur annually nationwide. When doctors fail to diagnose a condition, patients can suffer or even die as a result. One study discovered that 28 percent of diagnostic errors were life threatening or led to permanent disabilities. These errors included delayed, incorrect and missed diagnoses.

According to a meta-analysis conducted in 2008, the five most commonly misdiagnosed conditions based on frequency range from infections to cancer. Around 12 percent of all cancers are initially misdiagnosed, but five types, including breast cancer and melanoma, are misdiagnosed the most often. However, acute infections claimed the top spot for misdiagnosed conditions followed by pulmonary emboli. Heart attacks and heart disease came next. Sometimes, patients show no symptoms when they have a pulmonary emboli, or a blood clot in the lungs, contributing to the chance of a failure to diagnosis.

Serious health conditions including stroke, lupus, Parkinson's disease and depression are also commonly misdiagnosed, as are celiac disease, Lyme disease and sacroiliac joint dysfunction. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder leaving the bodies of affected people incapable of digesting gluten. Approximately 10 percent of people with the disease test negative for it. Symptoms of Lyme disease may be falsely attributed to other conditions if there is no evidence of a tick bite or a specific rash, and sacroiliac joint dysfunction causes between 20 and 25 percent of chronic lower back pain.

Patients who experienced medical injuries due to diagnostic errors made by inattentive or negligent health care providers may be entitled to compensation. An attorney could assist a victim in filing a claim to cover medical expenses, lost income and other financial concerns appropriate to his or her situation.

Source: Mother Nature Network, "12 illnesses that are commonly misdiagnosed", Melissa Breyer, July 18, 2014

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