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Medical Conditions Most Often Missed By Doctors


Do you trust your doctor with your health? Most people do, and for the most part, doctors do meet the required standard of care. The majority of doctors can be counted on to make good decisions regarding the diagnosis and treatment of your illnesses and injuries.

But mistakes do happen. Doctors are not infallible. They may make mistakes, and while everyone does so, a mistake in the medical field can be deadly. 

Missed diagnoses happen quite frequently, but they are often overlooked. In fact, it is estimated that at least 12 million people are misdiagnosed every year. Failure to diagnose causes tens of thousands of deaths annually.

Most Overlooked Conditions

Many cancers are commonly misdiagnosed, including colorectal, lung, prostate, breast, and bladder cancer. Heart attacks and strokes also top the list. Sepsis, heart failure, and kidney failure are common as well. Other commonly misdiagnosed conditions include pulmonary embolism, brain hemorrhage, pneumonia, and urinary tract infections. Fractures and abscesses may also be missed during a doctor or ER visit.

Reasons for Misdiagnosis

Why does misdiagnosis occur so often? It can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to a simple miscommunication. The doctor may miss something or the patient may lie about their symptoms or not explain them thoroughly.

Also, the doctor may order the wrong test or maybe the right test is ordered but it is read incorrectly. Another thing to consider is that disorganization may be an issue. Data in electronic medical records can be disorganized or lab results or other critical reports may be misplaced or never sent to the treating physician. On top of that, there is often a lot of uncertainty in diagnosis. There are several thousand known diseases but only so many symptoms. Some diseases have many of the same symptoms, so it’s common for a misdiagnosis to occur.

For example, a complaint of a headache may not be easily diagnosed because there are many possibilities, such as stress, hormones, alcohol use, and excessive noise. Stomach pain is another common complaint. It can be caused by many issues, such as food poisoning, constipation, appendicitis, excessive gas, heart attack, ovarian cysts, or even cancer. Because of this, it may take your doctor a long time to come up with a proper diagnosis.

This can be a serious situation. Infections and cancers need to be treated promptly. If you miss them, you may not be able to treat them properly, putting your life at risk.

The good news is that not every misdiagnosis is life-threatening. For example, back pain could be a muscle strain or a form of arthritis, but neither will likely result in death. Neither would a skin condition that is actually eczema but is misdiagnosed as poison oak. 

Contact Us Today

We rely on doctors to give us correct diagnoses for medical ailments, but this does not always happen. Doctors are human and they sometimes make mistakes.

Have you or a loved one been affected by a doctor’s misdiagnosis? If so, seek legal help from the Columbia misdiagnosis lawyers from Simmons Law Firm. We’ll help you get compensation for all your damages. Get started with a free consultation. Fill out the online form or call our office at (803) 779-4600.



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