You go to the doctor, get a clean bill of health and then move on with your life. Nothing to worry about, right? Maybe, but what if you are still experiencing troubling symptoms despite a Massachusetts doctor reassuring you that nothing is wrong? You could be the victim of a missed diagnosis.
A missed diagnosis can cause you to suffer profound injuries, pain and psychological trauma. Easy treatment options might have been available if a doctor diagnosed you when you first sought help, but now you could be facing much more rigorous treatment options that will take longer and put a greater toll on your body.
What is a missed diagnosis?
A missed diagnosis is, quite simply, when a health care professional completely fails to render a diagnosis. This can look different, depending on the person and his or her illness. A common example is that of a woman told that the small lump in her breast is benign. Later she finds out that the lump is malignant. You probably already know that early intervention for serious medical conditions like cancer are important, and a missed diagnosis can be devastating or even fatal in these cases.
Although a little confusing, a missed diagnosis is not the same thing as a misdiagnosis. When a doctor misses your diagnosis, he or she tells you that you are fine and not suffering from any type of illness. In a misdiagnosis, a doctor will give you an incorrect diagnosis, like saying you are suffering from the flu when you have actually contracted Lyme disease.
Is a missed diagnosis common?
Experts do not know the exact rate of missed or misdiagnoses, but a conservative estimate puts it around 40 percent. This means that, if you went to the doctor 10 times, at least four of them would involve some type of incorrect diagnosis.
Being proactive does not necessarily help, either. Dr. Jerome Groopman wrote an entire book on doctors’ thought processes after he repeatedly experienced a misdiagnosis. If a trusted medical professional can suffer the ill-effects of a wrong diagnosis, it can happen to you.
Keep seeking help
If your doctor rendered a diagnosis and course of treatment, and you are still suffering from the same or new symptoms, he or she may have misdiagnosed you. Similarly, if a doctor said you were fine, and yet your condition is worsening, he or she may have overlooked your illness completely. Returning to your doctor with a list of concerns or seeking a second opinion can help in getting the right answers.
However, the damage from a missed diagnosis can happen quickly, and you may be facing steep medical bills and significant pain because of a health care provider’s negligence. Medical malpractice suits are often one of the best choices for Massachusetts victims as they seek compensation for their injuries.