Updated August 23, 2020

What Is Medical Misdiagnosis?

When you are sick, hurt, or suffering from health complications, you go to a doctor or other medical professional to get a diagnosis. In a perfect world, their diagnosis will be completely accurate and lead to the right treatment plan for you, every time. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Doctors are people, and people make mistakes. If those mistakes involve misdiagnosing a health condition, patients can suffer serious consequences: a prolonged condition, further complications, ineffective treatment, or even death.

What Are the Different Types of Medical Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis as a term can cover a variety of circumstances.

False Positive

When a doctor identifies a patient as having a condition when they do not actually have it, or when they misidentify a patient’s condition as a different condition, it is referred to as a false positive.

False Negative

Similarly, a false negative is when a doctor fails to diagnose a specific condition. They may determine that the patient is healthy when they actually have a disease or other medical condition.

Misinterpretation of Lab or Test Results

To make a diagnosis, doctors often look at lab or test results as well as radiology images. A misinterpretation of these results can lead to a misdiagnosis.

Lack of Communication with Patient

Doctors must effectively communicate with a patient in order to learn their symptoms and make a corresponding diagnosis. As in many areas, communication is key.

Delayed Diagnosis

If a doctor makes an accurate diagnosis, but that diagnosis is delayed, it might be too late to administer treatment or take preventative action. A delayed diagnosis is one of the most common types of medical misdiagnosis errors.

Failure to Diagnose a Root Cause

Identifying the underlying root cause of a patient’s symptoms is crucial to maintaining or improving their health; a doctor missing the underlying cause of symptoms can lead to incomplete treatment.

Failure to Diagnose a Related or Unrelated Disease

Sometimes, a patient has a disease that commonly goes alongside another disease. They could also have more than one unrelated disease. Such diagnoses are tricky, but a misdiagnosis in these cases can result in an unidentified condition.

Failure to Recognize Complications

Doctors not only need to accurately diagnose a patient’s condition, but they also should take complications into account. The human body is extremely complex, and any number of agents can change the nature of the diagnosis.

What Are Some Frequently Misdiagnosed Conditions?

The following medical conditions are frequently misdiagnosed:

Trust your gut: If you think your medical diagnosis is incorrect, consider getting a second opinion.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

If your medical condition or the medical condition of a loved one was misdiagnosed, contact the Indianapolis Medical Malpractice Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can answer any questions you have and help you fight for the compensation you deserve.

Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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