Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose are among the most common medical malpractice issues in modern America. Physicians can make mistakes in their diagnostic processes that result in them either failing to diagnose a patient who presents symptoms or diagnosing them with a different condition and administering treatment for the wrong condition.
Both of these circumstances have a host of potential consequences, including the progression of the initial medical condition and any side effects that unnecessary treatment might produce. Certain conditions are more likely than others to go undiagnosed or to wind up diagnosed as something else, and these conditions tend to have a few things in common.
The hardest to diagnose conditions are chronic and involve pain
Pain is a difficult symptom to address, as physicians only have so many options available to reduce the sensation of pain, and many of them decrease in impact over time. In order to properly treat pain, it is necessary to first discover the underlying cause of the pain.
That can be particularly difficult to do, and doctors may wrongfully conflate what they see as contradictory statements by patients about their symptoms or condition with drug-seeking behavior. That could mean that the doctor doesn’t adequately focus on trying to determine the underlying cause of the condition.
Chronic conditions that present a variety of mild to moderate symptoms that may have a daily impact on a patient are also among the hardest to diagnose. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions include:
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Celiac disease
Delayed or wrong diagnoses impact patients’ lives
A delayed or missed diagnosis could mean dealing with progressively more painful and difficult symptoms for months or even years. In some cases, the disease could progress as well, leaving you with a worse prognosis or fewer treatment options.
You rely on your doctor to help you understand what is going on with your body. When they make mistakes or oversights, you are the one that suffers the consequences. If you got hurt through treatment due to a wrong diagnosis or have experienced worsening medical issues because of a delayed diagnosis, you may be able to seek compensation by pursuing a medical malpractice claim.