We have a tendency to implicitly trust the opinions doctors render after performing examinations. After all, doctors have the training necessary to make assessments and recommend treatments. Typically, doctors do a good job of diagnosing any issues we may be having.
But doctors are human, and they can make mistakes. In fact, in the U.S., doctors misdiagnose 12 million adults every year. That number represents 5 percent of patients. So as a misdiagnosed patient, which conditions should you be especially concerned about? The following are some ailments that are commonly misdiagnosed:
- Lupus, which may be misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia.
- Lyme disease, sometimes misdiagnosed as mononucleosis, flu or depression.
- Asthma, sometimes misdiagnosed as recurring bronchitis.
- Parkinson’s disease, sometimes misdiagnosed as stress, stroke or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart attacks, which are sometimes misdiagnosed as panic attacks or indigestion.
Typically, if you establish a doctor-patient relationship with a physician, he or she owes you a duty of care. This means the doctor must treat you with a reasonable level of competency. This treatment includes making sound diagnostic appraisals of any illnesses or conditions you may be suffering from. To do otherwise may be considered negligence.
A doctor’s misdiagnosis could lead to serious consequences for a patient. A patient may not receive timely treatment, or could be subjected to unnecessary treatment. Ultimately, a misdiagnosis could lead to a patient’s condition severely worsening before he or she gets proper care.
If you or a loved one ever suffers unduly because a doctor failed to make a correct diagnosis, you may wish to engage the services of a Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorney. The attorney could look at the facts of your case to see if the doctor’s misdiagnosis was an act of negligence. If so, then you may be able to file for damages.