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Medical misdiagnoses affect millions of Americans each year

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

The relationship between a medical practitioner and their Idaho patient should be one based on trust and security. After all, when you visit the doctor for help with a medical problem, you expect them to listen to you and offer the correct diagnosis and course of treatment. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. More than 12 million people across the United States are misdiagnosed by a medical professional each year.

The dangers of being incorrectly diagnosed

When people think of a misdiagnosis, they may consider a doctor who has to try a few treatments before clearing up a rash or misdiagnosing a cold for the flu. The reality is more dangerous. Of the millions of people who are affected by a misdiagnosis each year, an estimated half of these individuals experience serious harm from the error. Additionally, between 40,000 and 80,000 people die each year from a medical error. These errors are often caused by medical malpractice.

Women and minorities are at an increased risk of misdiagnosis

If you are a female or a minority, you are at a greater risk of being misdiagnosed. This is because many medical tests and symptoms for diagnosis were designed with studies done on white males. Women and minorities often require different lab numbers or display different symptoms for medical conditions. For example, medical professionals learn that pain in the left arm and chest indicates a heart attack; however, women are more likely to experience different symptoms. This often results in a woman not being treated correctly for a heart attack when she initially goes to the hospital.

Taking charge of your health

Experts say that advocating for yourself is the best way to prevent a medical error from occurring. If symptoms don’t clear up or if you don’t think a medical practitioner listened to you, get a second opinion. Speak up about all of the symptoms you are experiencing and ask questions about treatment options and prescribed medications. Doing so can help save your life.