Figures show about 12 million diagnostic errors occur annually from misdiagnosis, causing death or disability. Misdiagnosis in Boise, Idaho, means the doctor found a condition, but the wrong one. There are several conditions and illnesses that are more prone to diagnostic errors.
Commonly misdiagnosed conditions
There are three conditions commonly misdiagnosed that make up the “Big Three”, which include cancer, vascular events, and infections. Among the top misdiagnosed cancers include lymphoma, breast cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, lung cancer, and bladder cancer.
Sepsis is a life-threatening infection often acquired in hospitals often mistaken for thyroid storm, medication poisoning, or spinal injury. Some other frequently misdiagnosed infections include pneumonia, meningitis, endocarditis and spinal abscess, which is a rare condition.
A heart attack can get diagnosed as a panic attack, bronchitis, pneumonia, musculoskeletal pain, gallstones, or pneumonia. Other frequently misdiagnosed vascular events include arterial embolism, stroke, aortic aneurysm and dissection, and venous thromboembolism.
When misdiagnosis is medical malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor fails to follow a basic care level, which results in harm. However, to bring a malpractice case against a health care professional, several elements need to be met to collect damages.
The first element is the doctor must have owed the patient a duty of care, meaning they agreed to treat the patient. A patient/doctor relationship must exist, which is established when the doctor serves the patient’s medical needs.
The doctor’s negligence breached the duty of care, causing the patient harm and damages from the error. Even if the doctor makes a mistake, it isn’t malpractice unless the patient suffered actual damages.
While the law doesn’t expect perfection, doctors must provide a basic level of care. Not all errors are malpractice, and litigation often requires expert testimony, so the patient will need a case analysis.