Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions

Some individuals in Connecticut may have experienced one or more of the most common misdiagnoses that doctors make. Lung, breast and colorectal cancer are frequently misdiagnosed, and this often happens because doctors do not follow up with a biopsy after a test is abnormal. Heart attacks are also misdiagnosed often because symptoms may not be among the most common or the patient may belong to a demographic in which a heart attack is unexpected.

Pulmonary embolisms are often missed because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. Furthermore, multiple tests are necessary to confirm a pulmonary embolism, and if a patient has a false negative, a doctor might stop testing further.

Because patients are not always honest about their drug use, overdoses also may be misdiagnosed. However, a doctor may also overlook the possibility of a drug overdose because the patient is older and chronically ill and the overdose is due to physician-prescribed medication.

A stroke may be missed if it occurs over a period of days rather than minutes. Doctors have also diagnosed patients with a migraine when a stroke was actually occurring.

Misdiagnoses are fairly common. They happen to about one out of every 20 patients, and they result in about 10 percent of patient deaths.

Individuals who have suffered from a medical misdiagnosis may wish to consult an attorney to discuss whether medical malpractice has occurred. For example, a young woman who is having a heart attack might visit an emergency room and be dismissed with a diagnosis of anxiety, and the delayed treatment could lead to further damage. If the patient decides to file a civil suit against the medical professional and the facility that made the misdiagnosis, a lawyer might be able to help gather evidence for the case.