Five Commonly Misdiagnosed Injuries and Illnesses

by | Sep 9, 2022 | Injuries, Medical Malpractice

Every year, doctors misdiagnose about twelve million Americans. About a third of these cases result in death or serious injury.

Doctors have a lot of power. Most patients rely exclusively on doctors for all their healthcare information and treatment. With great power comes great responsibility. In Kentucky, doctors have a fiduciary duty. They must collect as much information as possible and make the best diagnosis possible.

Lack of information is a serious problem in this area. To avoid the dreaded defensive medicine label, many doctors don’t order key diagnostic tests. Making matters worse, many doctors largely ignore their patients when they talk about their symptoms.

If a lack of information caused injury, a Lexington personal injury lawyer can obtain substantial compensation for victims. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and non economic losses, such as emotional distress. Additional punitive damages are often available in these cases as well.

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.

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. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.