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Dealing with misdiagnosis

Montana medical patients may seek the advice of doctors when it comes to diagnosing medical problems. While the majority of diagnoses end up being correct, the problem of misdiagnosis, which is defined as a delayed, missed, or incorrect diagnosing of a condition, affects many patients annually.

The exact rate of misdiagnosis is hard to determine because not all misdiagnoses are discovered or reported. However, by the estimation of some experts, about 10 percent of diagnoses are misdiagnoses. The medical community has assembled several organizations and task forces dedicated to analyzing and working to reduce the number of misdiagnoses made annually.

Most of the more commonly misdiagnosed conditions are very serious. According to a 2009 study, the two most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are pulmonary embolisms and drug overdoses and reactions. Lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and acute coronary syndrome make up the rest of the top five misdiagnosed conditions. Also among the ten most diagnosed conditions are stroke, congestive heart failure, breast cancer, fractures and abscesses.

In some cases of misdiagnosis, the patient suffers severe worsening of symptoms, a diminished quality of life and possible death. When this happens, medical bills may also skyrocket. In order to offset the cost, it may be possible for a patient to pursue a lawsuit against the physician who initially misdiagnosed the condition. Through a civil action, the plaintiff could recover funds that might be used to cover damages associated with the incident A patient who has suffered complications because of a misdiagnosis may benefit from talking to a lawyer who has experience in medical malpractice cases. The lawyer may be able to determine whether pursuit of a lawsuit is feasible in a specific case.

Source: Med Page Today, "Misdiagnosis: Can It Be Remedied?", Joyce Frieden, August 17, 2014

Source: Med Page Today, "Misdiagnosis: Can It Be Remedied?", Joyce Frieden, August 17, 2014

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