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How common are medical misdiagnoses?

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2022 | Medical Malpractice |

Most people depend on their doctors for an accurate and timely medical diagnosis when they do not feel well or sudden symptoms appear that interrupt their daily lives. While the majority receive the help they need, Healthline reports that around 12 million people each year receive medical misdiagnoses and thousands more lose their lives because of this issue.

Medical misdiagnosis can have a profound effect on people’s lives, and remaining aware of how this occurs may help those at risk avoid unnecessary suffering.

Diagnostic errors

Some errors take place during the diagnostic stages when doctors attempt to properly identify certain ailments that match the symptoms their patients report. Several issues may cause diagnostic errors, including:

  • Technology/machinery errors
  • Human error
  • Outdated diagnostic practices

While most doctors strive to use the most updated diagnostic equipment, those in low-income medical programs may encounter these issues at their local clinics, so they may want to inquire about certain testing procedures before their appointment date.

Assessing risk

Some individuals carry more risk than others, with minorities and women leading the number of people who experience a diagnostic error. This could have several causes, including the misdiagnosis of women’s health concerns, such as uterine cancer or fibroids, and issues with finding qualified healthcare for those who cannot obtain medical insurance. Language barriers may also contribute to these errors, especially when patients have trouble relaying their symptoms via an interpreter.

Nearly half of all medical misdiagnoses have the potential to seriously affect the lives of those who experience them. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and learning to listen to one’s body may help to avoid this problem.