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Report: Common misdiagnoses in decline but still too prevalent

As many New York patients may know, a misdiagnosis is considered to be any diagnosis that was not correct or a correct diagnosis that came too late to help the patient. One may occur because symptoms may have been overlooked or were not present when a patient was first diagnosed. In some cases, the same group of symptoms may be present for a variety of different illnesses or diseases. A recent report indicates that while the overall number of diagnoses has fallen, certain common ones are still too often missed, based on autopsy studies.

Lung cancer and colorectal cancer were two of the top five conditions misdiagnosed according to a study from a 2009 study from a physician at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. The other three most commonly misdiagnosed conditions were pulmonary embolism, acute coronary syndrome and reactions or overdoses to drugs. The results were gathered by analyzing 583 reports of doctor errors from hospitals across the nation.

Over the past few decades, the frequency of certain common misdiagnoses hasn't changed much. However, the list of commonly misdiagnosed conditions tends to be different depending on the setting. For example, a pediatrician may report a different list than an emergency physician. Some professionals are seeing an uptick in missed cases of sepsis, which is believed to possibly be due to more antibiotics being prescribed. This may make bacteria stronger and more resistant once inside a person.

Patients who believe that they were not properly diagnosed may sue for medical malpractice. A medical malpractice attorney could examine their medical record to see whether certain tests were not conducted or a medical professional failed to ask the right questions when making a diagnosis. In some cases, it could also be argued that misreading MRI results could have caused a misdiagnosis. If successful, an individual suing for medical malpractice may be able to win compensation for their medical bills and other costs.

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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