You may be able to tell when something is wrong with your body, but you may not know the cause of your ailment or what you need to do to make it better. You count on your doctor to assess your condition, tell you what is wrong and what you need to do to make things right. Yet, medical misdiagnosis is more common than you may think.
According to AARP, today’s patients who have serious medical conditions have their conditions misdiagnosed about 20% of the time. The figure comes from a study involving almost 300 patients, the majority of whom did not classify as older adults.
Statistics surrounding medical misdiagnosis
The study also found that while 20% of patients received completely wrong diagnoses, another 66% received diagnoses that needed updating later on. Only 12% of patients studied received correct medical diagnoses from their primary care doctors following their initial visits. Other, separate studies have also shown that medical misdiagnosis is a factor in about 10% of all patient deaths.
Lowering the risks associated with misdiagnoses
When you receive a serious diagnosis or when your doctor tells you must have an invasive surgical procedure or treatment regimen following a serious diagnosis, seek a second opinion. Another doctor may be able to identify something the first physician missed or offer an alternative explanation for your symptoms. In some cases, seeking a second opinion may prevent you from having to undergo unnecessary or complicated treatments or surgeries your condition may not actually warrant.