Some conditions have such vague or variable symptoms that doctors often miss them because they fail to run the right tests or don’t take the time to investigate their patients’ medical histories. Failure to adequately assess a patient’s health condition can result in unnecessary discomfort, prolonged healing, and death. Physicians who negligently care for their patients can be held liable for the damage they cause to a patient’s health and their quality of life.
Commonly Missed Diseases
1. Lupus – Lupus is an autoimmune disorder which occurs when the body’s immune system turns on itself. This leads to severe inflammation throughout the patient’s body. This inflammation can cause permanent damage to kidneys and other organs.
2. Cancer – Cancer is often misdiagnosed as a less-serious condition by non-specialist physicians. This is a common problem with skin cancer, colon cancer, and stomach cancers. When cancer is missed in the early stages, the consequences can be catastrophic.
3. Aneurysms – This ticking “time bombs” are often missed during an examination. When a physician misses an aneurysm, this failure to diagnose can have sudden, potentially fatal consequences for the patient.
4. Hepatitis C – This blood infection can result in permanent, irreversible scarring of the liver. This can significantly impact the individual’s health and diminish their life expectancy.
5. Celiac Disease – Failure to promptly diagnose celiac disease results in severe damage to the digestive tract. Over time, the disease causes iron deficiency, vitamin deficiencies, and osteoporosis which diminishes the individual’s quality of life and makes them more prone to the development of cancers and other potentially life-threatening conditions.
Causes of Missed Diagnosis
It is estimated that up to 12 million patients treated in hospitals and outpatient medical centers are misdiagnosed each year. There are many reasons physicians fail to properly diagnose their patients. These include poor training, poor communication, failure to thoroughly review a patient’s medical record, ordering the wrong tests, and misinterpreting test results.
Younger, less-experienced physicians and doctors who are overworked or untrained in a particular medical specialty are more likely to deliver an improper diagnosis to a patient. When a physician misses a diagnosis, they can prolong a patient’s suffering. With conditions such as cancer or Hepatitis C, there is the likelihood that treatable conditions can progress to a stage where the condition cannot be effectively treated or cured. This can result in unnecessary suffering and premature mortality.