When you go to the doctor or are sick enough to need to visit the emergency room, you hope getting medical help will put you on the path to recovery. You want your doctor to find out what is causing your illness and help you feel better soon. However, doctors sometimes make mistakes when diagnosing patents. Sometimes, doctors miss an important diagnosis.
Unfortunately, about 12 million adults in the United States receive a misdiagnosis each year. In up to 20% of those misdiagnosis cases, doctors fail to recognize a serious illness in their patient in their first diagnosis. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses include the following:
- Cancer, such as lymphoma, breast cancer, sacromas and melanoma
- Stroke, with symptoms of vision problems, confusion, severe headache or numbness in the face
- Lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease with symptoms of fatigue; kidney, heart or lung damage; rashes and joint pain
- Lyme disease, with symptoms of muscle and joint pain, fever, stiffness and fatigue
- Parkinson’s disease, with symptoms of tremors in hands, arms and legs; stiff muscles and problems with balance or walking
- Multiple sclerosis, with symptoms of muscle spasms, lack of coordination, balance problems and cognitive impairment
- Fibromyalgia, with symptoms of anxiety and depression, incapacitating fatigue, increased sensitivity to pain
This is why seeking a second opinion after diagnosis of a serious illness or if your symptoms persist is so important. You want to ensure you find out what really is affecting your health and receive proper treatment.
For those patients who receive a misdiagnosis that causes them actual harm, they have a right to file a medical malpractice claim and recover compensation for damages, including money for:
- Emergency medical care
- Medical bills
- Physical therapy
- Psychological counseling
- Lost wages and earning power
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disabilities
An important part of taking care of your health is becoming an advocate for receiving proper care. Sometimes, you have to hold a doctor accountable for a misdiagnosis, not only to get compensation for yourself but to help prevent further misdiagnosis for serious illnesses.