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The Dangers of Misdiagnosis

The Dangers of Misdiagnosis

While it is difficult to determine how many people are injured as a result of misdiagnosis, the Institute of Medicine estimates that around 12 million people, or approximately five percent of those who seek outpatient care, are misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late every year. In many cases, these errors can be easily corrected, especially when a medical condition is relatively minor. Unfortunately, other, more serious mistakes can cause long-term health complications for patients, who must then spend thousands of dollars on additional procedures or treatments. To ensure that your own negligent doctor is held accountable for his or her failure to use reasonable care during the diagnosis process, please contact a Mount Prospect medical malpractice attorney who can explain your legal options.

The Importance of a Correct Diagnosis

Being correctly diagnosed is critical to the success of the treatment process, as it both provides an explanation for a patient’s symptoms and helps inform later decisions. For these reasons, patients who are misdiagnosed from the beginning may miss out on the opportunity to take advantage of lifesaving procedures or may even undergo unnecessary operations that cause much more serious complications in the long run. Missed diagnoses can essentially make certain treatable conditions untreatable and can even lead to death.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions

Many illnesses have identical symptoms, which can make it understandably difficult to differentiate between conditions. Fortunately, ordering additional tests and conducting examinations can almost always resolve these issues. However, overlooking or ignoring results, failing to order additional tests or examinations, or administering a test incorrectly can confuse the situation even more, and can even lead to a dangerous misdiagnosis. Although this can happen with any type of condition, there are some kinds of illnesses that are misdiagnosed most often, including:

  • Aortic dissection, which can be misdiagnosed as heartburn;
  • Cancer, which is often misdiagnosed when a doctor fails to adhere to specific screening guidelines;
  • Coronary artery disease;
  • Minor heart attacks; and
  • Infections.

While a lack of care is perhaps the most common and basic cause of misdiagnosis, there are certain actions that are especially likely to result in an incorrect diagnosis. For example, miscommunication between different treating physicians and failing to consider alternative diagnoses after reaching an initial conclusion are common and easily preventable causes of many misdiagnoses. Failing to administer the appropriate tests or misreading their results have also been linked to a number of avoidable misdiagnoses. Healthcare professionals can and should be held accountable for these actions, which can lead to the improper treatment of serious medical conditions.


Those who were misdiagnosed by a doctor as a result of negligent or reckless conduct have two years from the date that the injury or misdiagnosis was discovered to file a claim against the at-fault party. However, these types of claims can be brought no later than four years after the misdiagnosis event actually occurred. This is true regardless of when the victim became aware of the injury.

Schedule a Consultation with a Mount Prospect Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

To ensure that you don’t miss important filing deadlines and have the best chance of collecting compensation for your misdiagnosis, please contact the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today. You can reach one of our dedicated attorney by calling 847-255-9925 or by completing one of our brief online contact forms.

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