When you hear the term "medical malpractice," do you imagine a doctor operating on the wrong part of the body? Most people are surprised to learn that it's actually misdiagnoses, not surgical errors, that result in the most malpractice settlements in the Unites States.
According to The Washington Post, missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses accounted for 29 percent of successful malpractice claims over a 25-year period. Misdiagnoses also caused 39 percent of the deaths related to malpractice.
Diagnostic errors are dangerous and often life threatening. If you think you were the victim of a diagnostic error, a medical malpractice lawyer from The Bowling Law Firm can help. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule an initial consultation with a New Orleans medical malpractice attorney.
Let's explore some of the most common conditions that doctors often misdiagnose:
According to Fox News Health, doctors often misdiagnose lung, breast and colorectal cancers. A delayed diagnosis is most likely to occur when a doctor fails to arrange for a biopsy after reviewing abnormal test results. If you ever receive abnormal test results, you can reduce the risk of a missed diagnosis by asking for a biopsy immediately.
2. Heart Attack
Heart attack symptoms vary among individuals. Your age, race, and gender can affect what kind of symptoms you might experience during a heart attack. According to McGill University Health Centre, women are more likely to receive an inaccurate diagnosis when they have had a heart attack because they typically do not experience chest pain as a symptom.
Diagnosing any mental illness is challenging because there are no physical tests that can provide tangible results. It is common for doctors to misdiagnose depression because its symptoms are similar to those of post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and certain anxiety disorders.
Doctors often overlook the early signs of stroke, especially in younger patients. Common symptoms include confusion, severe headaches, poor coordination and vision problems, which doctors might diagnose as migraines, vertigo or intoxication.
5. Lyme Disease
According to the Lyme Disease Association, Inc., patients suffer from symptoms of Lyme disease for an average of 1.2 years before they receive an accurate diagnosis. Common symptoms include fever, stiffness, fatigue and joint pain.
Characterized by widespread muscle pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia has many of the same symptoms as rheumatic diseases like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors may also misdiagnose it as chronic fatigue syndrome, preventing patients from getting the relief they desperately need.
7. Thyroid Conditions
If you have thyroid disease but the symptoms are mild, a doctor might diagnose you with another condition such as depression.
If you received a misdiagnosis and it prevented you from getting the treatment you needed, a medical malpractice attorney can help you explore the options for pursuing damages. Call 877-757-3539 to schedule an initial consultation with a New Orleans medical malpractice lawyer. You can also learn more about medical malpractice claims in Louisiana by visiting the USAttorneys website.