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What are dangerous conditions most likely to be misdiagnosed?

| Jul 1, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

You expect that when you have a health problem, your doctor will give you an accurate diagnosis of what troubles you. Unfortunately, some doctors misdiagnose their patients. While this may not always result in adverse effects to your health, a misdiagnosis of a dangerous condition could put your life at risk.

If a doctor does not diagnose your condition properly, you might miss out on medicines and treatments that could save your life. Researchers have examined cases of medical misdiagnoses and have discovered that doctors are more likely to incorrectly diagnose some conditions over others.

Misdiagnosed conditions

Medscape explains that a misdiagnosis is more likely to result in harm or death if a doctor misdiagnoses three particular health problems. They consist of the following:

  • Infections
  • Cancer
  • Vascular events

According to researchers, more than half of people who have not received the correct diagnosis for a condition in these areas will suffer permanent disability or die.

Specific misdiagnosed conditions

Research posted on Medscape in 2020 specifically identified dangerous conditions that doctors misdiagnose. Among vascular conditions, vascular dissections and aortic aneurysms were most likely to receive a misdiagnosis and create harm as a result. Among cancers, doctors were most likely to incorrectly diagnose lung cancer, which also had a high rate of harm to patients.

Infections were a troubling category. Medical professionals were most likely to misdiagnose spinal abscess both in the infection category and across all misdiagnoses. This particular misdiagnosis had a harm rate of 36%.

Future implications

The good news is that some dangerous conditions like sepsis, breast cancer, prostate cancer and myocardial infarction have a much lower possibility of misdiagnosis. Identifying conditions as more prone to misdiagnosis allows the medical community to focus on figuring out why doctors misjudge these conditions.

It also helps individuals to be on their guard when they suspect they have one of these ailments. If you think you are at risk of infection or vascular disease, consider asking your doctor as many questions as you can think of regarding your condition and get a second opinion so you can diminish your chances of an errant diagnosis.

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