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Misdiagnosed Diseases

Having a serious disease is scary enough. We must be able to trust our medical professionals to diagnose and treat diseases effectively. Sometimes however, diseases are completely misdiagnosed, leading to the wrong treatment or no treatment at all. When a doctor negligently misdiagnoses a disease, and injury results, he or she may be guilty of medical malpractice, and injured parties may be entitled to collect compensation.

Common Misdiagnoses

Studies have shown that as many as 12 million Americans are affected by diagnostic errors. Commonly misdiagnosed diseases are diseases that are especially rare, or especially common. Some common misdiagnoses include:

  • Cancer – Alarmingly, the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that cancer misdiagnosis occurs as often as 28 percent of the time.
  • Heart Attack – Because symptoms can vary widely, heart attacks are commonly misdiagnosed. Women especially run the risk of being misdiagnosed when they are having a heart attack. Without immediate intervention, heart attacks can be deadly.
  • Mental Disorders – Because so many psychological diseases have vague and overlapping symptoms, they are especially easy to misdiagnosis. When one mental disease is confused for another, and treated inaccurately, conditions can be exacerbated and suicide risk can be elevated.
  • Stroke – This life-threatening complication is misdiagnosed in thousands of patients each year. The American Heart Association reports that “young adults with stroke symptoms are often misdiagnosed with vertigo, migraine, or alcohol intoxication.”
  • Autoimmune Diseases – Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and celiac disease, are difficult to diagnose and often missed. Many patients can suffer unnecessarily for years, causing irreversible damage to organs and joints, because of misdiagnosis.
  • Infections – There are so many occurrences of so many different kinds of infections, that they are often misdiagnosed and mistreated.
  • Pulmonary Emboli – Deadly blood clots in the lungs are often misdiagnosed, likely contributing to the high mortality rate of this complication.
  • Appendicitis – Some people have an appendix that points backwards instead of forward in the body. That means that symptoms of appendicitis, like pain and tenderness, present in a different location than they normally would. This leads to misdiagnosis.
  • Lyme Disease – Lyme disease prevents with many vague and overlapping symptoms, like fatigue, headache, joint pain, and flu like symptoms. Misdiagnosing and failing to timely treat this tick borne infection can have serious consequences. The opportunity to administer antibiotics immediately can be missed, and the window for effective treatment can be lost.
  • Thyroid Conditions – Under or over active thyroids can wreak havoc on your body and life. Because of the subtle symptoms, thyroid conditions are often difficult to diagnose and people can suffer untreated for years.
  • This is not an exhaustive list of misdiagnosed diseases, and any disease can be misdiagnosed when a physician isn’t paying careful attention to your symptoms and your medical history. Do your best to keep careful records, and get as many opinions as you need to arrive at the right diagnosis. Your doctor owes you a certain standard of care, he or she must treat you as most other doctors in similar circumstances would. Failing to reach this threshold standard of care is medical malpractice. If you’ve been harmed because of a negligent misdiagnosis of a serious disease, contact a Chicago personal injury attorney to evaluate your case and seek the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate, medical malpractice claims have some of the shortest statutes of limitations, and time could be running out to file yours.

    Call Staver Law Group at to speak with a dedicated and experienced personal injury lawyer who can help you evaluate your case.