Misdiagnosis is the most common and costly type of medical mistake. Annually in the United States, it is estimated that 100,000 victims are killed or become permanently disabled due to medical misdiagnosis that was either completely missed or delayed. For that reason, victims of medical misdiagnosis, and their families, should be familiar with medical malpractice legal protections.
The most common types of medical misdiagnosis
There are three categories of illnesses that contribute to 75% of misdiagnoses. They include infections, vascular events and cancers. These three categories of illness are most commonly related to diagnostic errors that end up being serious and even life-threatening.
Diagnostic errors can occur related to any illness, however, researchers looking at diagnostic errors from 2006 to 2015 found that 37% of serious errors were related to cancers; 22% to vascular events; and 13% to infections. A total of 15 medical conditions were found to account for around half of severe misdiagnosis situations. These include strokes, sepsis and lung cancers which were most commonly misdiagnosed. Following those medical conditions were heart attacks, severe blood clots, meningitis, encephalitis and breast, prostate and skin cancers.
The research also found that the most common reason for diagnostic errors were clinical judgment failures which may include failing to order the appropriate diagnostic test or consultation; maintaining too narrow of a diagnostic focus; failing to property evaluate relevant symptoms or test results; or misinterpreting diagnostic test results.
The impacts of misdiagnosis
The impacts of misdiagnosis can be catastrophic and devastating for victims and their families. This can include if the victim was misdiagnosed or if they suffered from a failure to diagnose or a delayed diagnosis. Medical malpractice legal protections may be able to help with the damages suffered by victims and their families as a result of a misdiagnosis which they should be familiar with if they find themselves in that unfortunate situation.