You expect your doctor to provide an accurate and timely diagnosis, regardless of your medical condition, but mistakes can and do happen.
The more you understand about commonly misdiagnosed conditions, the easier it is to protect yourself.
According to a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), approximately five percent of adults who seek outpatient care experience a missed, inaccurate or delayed diagnosis. Furthermore, the report notes that most Americans will experience a diagnostic medical error at some point.
Here are three of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions:
- Cancer: A delayed cancer diagnosis is extremely serious, as it gives the disease time to spread to other parts of your body. Delayed diagnosis is most commonly associated with breast, lung and colorectal cancers, but all types can be mistaken for another medical condition.
- Heart attack: Symptoms of heart attack are often associated with less serious ailments, such as flu and indigestion. However, as a potentially fatal medical concern, there is no room for a misdiagnosis.
- Stroke: When a person is suffering from a stroke, it’s critical to receive immediate medical care. The longer a person goes without care, the greater chance there is of suffering irreparable damage. Slow onset stroke is often difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms gradually appear over the course of several days or longer.
How to protect yourself
Protecting against a misdiagnosis is easier said than done, as you put your trust in your medical team.
While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent a misdiagnosis, here are some tips to follow:
- Always seek a second opinion if you don’t like the approach your doctor is taking
- Carefully track all your symptoms, including when they happen and the severity
- Follow up on all abnormal test results
- Always tell your medical team the truth
Don’t lose sight of the fact that you know your body better than anyone else. If you feel that something is wrong, don’t give up until you receive an accurate diagnosis.
If you or a loved one is the victim of medical malpractice, such as a delayed diagnosis, take steps to protect your legal rights. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to receive compensation.
Visit our website and read our blog for more information on the steps to take after a medical misdiagnosis in Kentucky.