The (Not So Lucky) Seven Most Misdiagnosed Conditions in Kentucky

by | Jun 30, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Medical technology has advanced so much in recent years it’s hard to believe misdiagnosis is the leading cause of medical malpractice claims in the Bluegrass State. However, upon closer inspection, this fact isn’t that surprising. People, not tools, misdiagnose illnesses. If I had the most sophisticated power screwdriver in the world, I could still barely assemble an Ikea bookcase.

In terms of medical diagnosis, qualified professionals frequently don’t wield these tools. Busy doctors often over-delegate test result interpretation to patient care technicians, nurses, or other less-qualified professionals. These healthcare team members usually do their jobs well. But activities like diagnostic test interpretation belong to doctors alone.

Because so many advanced tools are available, there’s very little excuse for medical misdiagnosis, especially since the duty of care is so high for doctors and other professionals. Therefore, a Lexington personal injury attorney can usually obtain substantial compensation in these matters. This compensation usually includes money for economic and noneconomic losses, as well as additional punitive damages.

Cancer

This illness is, by far, the most commonly misdiagnosed condition in Kentucky. That’s bad news for victims, because prompt and proper diagnosis is usually the key to survivability. Either or both of these P-words could be an issue in cancer cases. 

If people with no genetic or lifestyle red flags complain about general pain and fatigue, doctors usually don’t suspect cancer. Inappropriate treatment is a major problem as well. For example, if a patient has lung cancer, there’s a big difference between non-small cell lung cancer, the most common form of lung cancer, and mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive form of this disease.

Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

Frequently, doctors look to signature symptoms when they diagnose serious illnesses. For example, people with measles have tiny red spots all over their bodies. But not everyone shows immediate signs of signature symptoms. Heart attacks are a good example. Many women don’t experience severe chest pains. As a result, doctors often misdiagnose myocardial infarctions as digestive issues, especially if the patient is female.

Stroke

These victims often complain of severe dizziness and extreme headaches. Many doctors and emergency medical technicians jump to conclusions in these situations. These symptoms mimic a number of other conditions, such as migraine headaches or inner ear infections. Almost half of misdiagnosed stroke patients are back in the hospital within days or weeks.

Additionally, as far as many doctors are concerned, a stroke is an age-related illness. That’s clearly not true, but the myth persists.

Sepsis

These infections kill more Americans than heart attacks. Sepsis is very difficult to diagnose, because there are no available diagnostic tests and the symptoms vary significantly. Close attention to recovering patients and aggressive use of antibiotics are the best responses.

These responses are often issues in hospitals. After surgery, many healthcare teams think their patients are out of the woods, so they don’t watch them closely. Furthermore, aggressive antibiotic use is often a no-no in hospitals. Doctors don’t want patients to become resistant to these medicines.

Pulmonary Embolism

PE, a blood clot that enters the lungs, is often life-threatening and often misdiagnosed. The symptoms, such as shortness of breath, dizziness, low blood pressure, cough, fatigue, and chest pain, mimic early-stage pneumonia and asthma, neither of which is terribly serious. Another reason PEs are misdiagnosed is that doctors don’t look for red flags, such as recent surgery, hormone medications, like birth control pills, and extended periods of little activity.

Brain Hemorrhage

A long list of conditions, a brain hemorrhage among them, could cause severe headaches. Since headaches are one of the most common reasons for ER visits, misdiagnosed SAH represents one of the largest sources of emergency department litigation claims and malpractice settlement payments in the United States.

Fractures

Unless the victim heard the bone snap, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference between a sprain and a fracture based solely on a physical examination. Fracture misdiagnosis is especially common in non-hospital cases, like sports injury cases. Good Samaritan laws usually protect amateur trainers if they misdiagnose a fracture. Professional trainers are usually liable for such injuries in court.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. Virtual, home, and hospital visits are available.