A misdiagnosis by a doctor can be deadly if not caught quickly. If the problem is not quickly corrected, it may lead to unbearable pain and suffering, substantial harm and even death. According to FindLaw, a misdiagnosed patient may have the grounds to sue a doctor for a misdiagnosis.
A misdiagnosis can also be a missed diagnosis, meaning the doctor did not diagnose any condition when the patient visited. The problem occurs when a doctor misread test results or made a wrong guess about a patient.
Common misdiagnoses that patients face
Although doctors get it right about 95% of the time, there are common cases where they misdiagnosis people. Some of the more common wrongfully diagnosed conditions include the following:
- Lupus: often diagnosed as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis or chronic fatigue syndrome
- Parkinson’s: often diagnosed as stress, a stroke or Alzheimer’s
- Lyme disease: often diagnosed as depression, the flu or mononucleosis
- Heart attack: often diagnosed as a panic attack or indigestions
- Asthma: often diagnosed as recurring bronchitis
Patients can reduce their chance of misdiagnosis by asking questions if they are not recovering, getting a second opinion or seeing a specialist for a newly diagnosed condition.
If the condition persists and misdiagnosis is a concern
Once a patient sees a doctor and starts a treatment regimen, they expect to get better in the time frame the doctor gave them. If the symptoms are not resolving and the issue does not seem to be getting better despite following the doctor’s orders for treatment, patients should immediately seek additional medical care from another physician or specialist.