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How does a missed diagnosis differ from a misdiagnosis?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Medical Malpractice

A missed diagnosis could occur when a doctor neglects to look into the cause of your symptoms. The AARP reports that the most frequently overlooked symptoms involve patients with complaints describing cancer.

With a misdiagnosis, a physician may have made errors in diagnosing a patient’s condition. Errors in diagnosing medical problems affect 12 million Americans every year.

Conditions that doctors may miss

Researchers conducting a Journal of the American Medical Association Network study found the top three conditions that doctors failed to run diagnostic tests for. Patients complaining of their symptoms did not learn that they had colorectal, lung or breast cancer.

Doctors also missed diagnosing heart attack symptoms. When patients complain of certain symptoms that may reflect serious medical conditions, physicians owe a duty of care to discover their underlying causes. If you complain of chest pain, for example, your doctor must run tests to discover if it reflects an illness such as pneumonia or heart disease.

Diagnostic errors and delays could cause a condition to worsen

Mistakes in ordering tests or evaluating their results may lead to a misdiagnosis. You could receive the wrong diagnosis and your doctor may provide treatment for an illness you do not have. A missed diagnosis may occur when your physician misreads your test results and states you have no serious medical problems.

You may later see another doctor who runs tests and correctly diagnoses your actual condition. This may mean that the first physician caused a delay in receiving treatment that could have prevented a serious condition from developing.

Medical practitioners need to ask patients the proper questions and perform the required diagnostic tests. If your doctor failed to do so and your condition worsened, you could have cause for a legal action to recover for the harm caused.

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