While doctors don’t have to be perfect, they must still provide patients in Cincinnati, Ohio, with the best possible level of care, including a proper diagnosis. Misdiagnosis is a common form of medical malpractice that occurs for about 12 million patients annually. Several conditions have a high rate of misdiagnosis since their symptoms overlap with other conditions.
The big three
Research from Johns Hopkins University revealed the “big three” conditions to get misdiagnosed: vascular events, cancer and infections. The conditions that have the highest risk of misdiagnosis in the big three include a blood infection called sepsis, lung cancer, stroke, heart attack and meningitis. According to the American Heart Association, young adults frequently get a stroke misdiagnosed as vertigo or alcohol addiction.
Strokes and heart attacks present differently in women than men, and most misdiagnoses occur in ERs. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition commonly mistaken for the flu, cold or acute appendicitis. Lung cancer may get misdiagnosed as asthma, COPD, pneumonia or acid reflux.
Other commonly misdiagnosed conditions
Lyme disease is a condition caused by a tick that often causes fever, trouble breathing, joint stiffness, chills, rash and headaches. Statistics reveal it could take over a year to get an accurate diagnosis since tests could have trouble finding the bacteria. It can mimic chronic fatigue syndrome, meningitis, depression and mononucleosis, and test results can even show a false positive result.
Fibromyalgia is a disease that can cause arthritis, headaches, touch and temperature sensitivity, memory issues and sleep issues. It could get diagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disease or anemia.
Chronic fatigue syndrome commonly causes fatigue not easily cured by rest, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes and sore throat. It may get misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, hepatitis, chronic Lyme disease or sinus infection. To avoid a chronic fatigue syndrome misdiagnosis, the doctor must rule out other conditions.
A misdiagnosis has consequences that can impact a patient’s life for the worse. Not all mistakes mean malpractice, however, so a patient needs an attorney to help them determine if their case has merit.