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The Prevalence of Misdiagnosis

Posted on September 29, 2020

Getting the right medical diagnosis is crucial to obtaining the appropriate treatment. However, one in 20 Americans may be victims of misdiagnosis or missed diagnoses, according to an article in Very Well Health.

A misdiagnosis is when a medical professional incorrectly identifies an illness or condition. For example, noted the article, when a doctor diagnoses flu when it really is Lyme disease. A missed diagnosis is a lack of diagnosis altogether, such as saying that a lump is benign when it is, in fact, cancerous. In some cases, this prevents patients from getting effective treatment. In other cases, these medical mistakes can lead to debilitation or death.

“The actual percentages of mis- and missed diagnoses vs correct, accurate diagnoses, are difficult to determine, although experts put the rate at around 5% for outpatients,” according to the article. A 2013 study in the Journal of Patient Safety reported that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in America, affecting between 210,000 and 440,000 patients annually.

The article encourages patients to take the lead in their health and, if treatment is not working as planned or promised, encourages questioning health professionals about continuing problems or symptoms.

Unfortunately, medical mistakes in Philadelphia can and do happen. If you have a situation you would like to discuss with a Philadelphia attorney experienced in misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses, we encourage you to contact us.