Doctors are human and thus aren’t perfect. They make mistakes that can have adverse implications on a patient’s health and even claim their life.  There are many different errors doctors may make that fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. One of those is misdiagnoses. Just how often do doctors misdiagnose patients? Keep reading to find out.

What is considered a misdiagnosis by a doctor?

A misdiagnosis by a doctor occurs when there is an error or delay in identifying a patient’s medical condition or incorrectly attributing it to a different ailment. This can lead to incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, or the absence of appropriate treatment, potentially causing harm or worsening the patient’s condition.

What are some common examples of misdiagnosis by doctors?

Common examples of misdiagnosis by doctors can include:

  • Failing to diagnose a serious condition, such as cancer, heart disease, or infections.
  • Misinterpreting test results, leading to an incorrect diagnosis.
  • Overlooking or dismissing symptoms that may indicate a specific medical condition.
  • Incorrectly attributing symptoms to a less severe or unrelated ailment.

How common is it for doctors to come up with the wrong diagnosis?

The frequency of misdiagnosis by doctors is challenging to determine precisely. However, studies and research suggest that diagnostic errors are a significant concern in healthcare, with estimates varying between 5% and 15% of all diagnoses being incorrect or delayed.

Put another way, at least 12 million people end up with the wrong diagnosis every year in the U.S. Nearly 100,000 people lose their lives due to this. Women and minorities are almost 33% more likely to receive a misdiagnosis than everyone else.

Why does a misdiagnosis sometimes occur?

If you’ve seen a few medical shows on television, then you likely have a general idea of how doctors try to come up with diagnoses.

They ask a patient to describe the many different symptoms they’re suffering from to hone in on the underlying issue. Doctors then start running tests in hopes that one will give them some more conclusive results. Physicians often administer patients several drugs to see which ones they’ll respond to. Doctors generally only become confident in their diagnoses once they get a patient who responds positively to medication.

Sometimes, however, a doctor will jump to conclusions about a patient’s condition based on their own misguided sense of what’s happening. Other times, internal biases can cause a doctor to dismiss a patient’s serious symptoms as something like anxiety, heartburn, or mere attention-seeking.

How can a misdiagnosis affect a patient in a personal injury case in Maryland?

In a personal injury case in Maryland, a misdiagnosis can significantly impact a patient’s situation. It can result in delayed or inadequate treatment, worsening of the injury or illness, additional medical expenses, emotional distress, loss of income, and diminished quality of life. It may be crucial to consult with a personal injury law firm to evaluate the potential impact on your case.

What steps should I take if I suspect a misdiagnosis by a doctor?

If you suspect a misdiagnosis by a doctor in Maryland, consider taking the following steps:

  • Seek a second opinion from another qualified healthcare professional.
  • Gather and preserve relevant medical records, test results, and documentation.
  • Consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases in Maryland to assess the situation and explore your legal options.

How can a personal injury law firm help in a misdiagnosis case in Maryland?

A personal injury law firm experienced in medical malpractice cases can provide valuable assistance. They can review your case, consult with medical experts to assess the validity of a misdiagnosis claim, gather necessary evidence, navigate the complex legal process, and advocate for your rights to seek compensation for any harm caused by the misdiagnosis.

Do you have a valid medical malpractice claim?

Sometimes, a doctor can ask all the right questions and do all the right tests — and still get the diagnosis wrong. Other times, a doctor is simply inept or uninterested in putting in the effort to get the diagnosis right.

When your health has suffered or a loved one is injured by a misdiagnosis, it’s time to explore your legal options. Sometimes, that’s the only way to ensure that they don’t continue repeating the same mistakes over again.