In 2013, a study by Dr. Emma Wallace of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland identified the single, topmost reason for lawsuits against doctors: failure to diagnose. The conclusion was made after a thorough analysis of malpractice claims against primary care doctors in the U.S.A., France, Canada, and Australia.
Physicians are skilled professionals; however, several situations can cause them to make diagnostic errors. These include a large caseload; error in patient’s records; misleading laboratory reports; or what are known as “cognitive traps”, which may include misanalysing symptoms and stereotyping.
Missed diagnosis can be very serious, as it can delay proper treatment for a patient’s ailments, or lead to the wrong prescriptions and treatment plans. Anyone who has been the victim of a missed diagnosis may be entitled to just compensation, with the help of medical malpractice attorneys in Brooklyn.
Below are some of the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases.
Cancer – According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, doctors misdiagnose the Big C as much as 28 percent of the time; and even up to 44 percent for several types. Melanoma, breast, gynecological, colorectal, and hematological cancers are the types that often slip by doctor scrutiny. Doctors commit a lot of cancer diagnostic mistakes due to incomplete information and inadequate checkup time.
Hypothyroidism – Also known as underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism can be deceiving. It’s a condition brought about by the thyroid gland’s insufficient production of hormones that regulate weight, mood, and energy. Its symptoms are very similar to those of depression, fibromyalgia, and others. Hypothyroidism also tends to get missed in people over 60 years old, as its symptoms closely resemble those of natural aging or obesity.
Heart attack – Heart attacks are often misdiagnosed due to a lack of the usual risk factors in patients, or lack of information on the symptoms a patient may be experiencing. A heart attack may also be mistaken for other conditions, such as pulmonary embolism, gastritis, gallstones, and heartburn.
Depression – The most common symptoms of depression (extreme sadness, anxiety, irritability, chronic fatigue, concentration issues, etc.) are pretty vague and can overlap with conditions like bipolar disorder, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Like heart attacks, depression is often missed due to incomplete information and inadequate consultation time.
There are still other diseases that doctors fail to diagnose correctly, or on time, depriving the patient the right to receive the treatment they need. A noted Brooklyn medical malpractice lawyer, such as one from The Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein, can help make sure patients get rightful compensation for the consequences of such professional errors.
(Source: Failure to Diagnose is Top Reason for Suing Doctors, Fox News, July 19, 2013)