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The deadly dozen - failure to diagnose

A recent study indicated that more than one-fourth of diagnostic mistakes in New Mexico and across the nation either carried the potential to result in a permanent disability or to be deadly. One estimate places the number of incorrect diagnoses at 12 million in this country. The failure to diagnose several illnesses by medical professionals could mean serious consequences for the victims.

Infections were one of the top conditions that were commonly misdiagnosed, in part because there are millions of cases each year. Sadly, the results can be deadly. A blood clot in the lungs, or pulmonary emboli, sometimes has no symptoms but is another serious condition that claims the lives of many victims each year. Cardiovascular disease, and more commonly heart attacks, also might present without chest pain or other symptoms and can easily be mistaken for other common diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that heart disease claims the lives of 600,000 people annually.

Cancer is also commonly misdiagnosed or even completely missed. The symptoms for a stroke seem obvious, but even an emergency room doctor might not catch a stroke. Almost 13 percent of stroke patients had been in an emergency room within the 30 days prior to a stroke with complaints of symptoms. They were diagnosed with low-risk conditions or may have received no diagnosis. Wheat allergies, or celiac disease, can sometimes take 10 years or more to diagnosis. Other commonly misdiagnosed illnesses include lupus, chronic lower back pain, Parkinson's disease, Lyme disease and depression.

The negligence of a doctor in diagnosing a serious condition could lead to permanent injuries or death. A personal injury lawyer might file a lawsuit when medical professionals do not properly perform their jobs.

Source: Mother Nature Network, "12 illnesses that are commonly misdiagnosed", Melissa Breyer, July 18, 2014

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