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How often do doctors misdiagnose patients?

| Jun 21, 2021 | Personal Injury

Doctors are human and thus aren’t perfect. They make mistakes that can have adverse implications on a patient’s health and even claim their life. 

There are many different errors doctors may make that fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. One of those is misdiagnoses. 

How common is it for doctors to come up with the wrong diagnosis?

At least 12 million people end up with the wrong diagnosis every year in the U.S. Nearly 100,000 people lose their lives due to this. Women and minorities are almost 33% more likely to receive a misdiagnosis than everyone else. 

Why does a misdiagnosis sometimes occur?

If you’ve seen a few medical shows on television, then you likely have a general idea of how doctors try to come up with diagnoses. 

They ask a patient to describe the many different symptoms they’re suffering from to hone in on the underlying issue. Doctors then start running tests in hopes that one will give them some more conclusive results. Physicians often administer patients several drugs to see which ones they’ll respond to. Doctors generally only become confident in their diagnoses once they get a patient who responds positively to medication. 

Sometimes, however, a doctor will jump to conclusions about a patient’s condition based on their own misguided sense of what’s happening. Other times, internal biases can cause a doctor to dismiss a patient’s serious symptoms as something like anxiety, heartburn or mere attention-seeking. 

Do you have a valid medical malpractice claim?

Sometimes, a doctor can ask all the right questions and do all the right tests — and still get the diagnosis wrong. Other times, a doctor is simply inept or uninterested in putting in the effort to get the diagnosis right. 

When your health has suffered or a loved one is injured by a misdiagnosis, it’s time to explore your legal options. Sometimes, that’s the only way to ensure that they don’t continue repeating the same mistakes over again.