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Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis stats

| May 18, 2021 | Failure To Diagnose, Medical Malpractice

Laws don’t state doctors must be perfect, but health care professionals must treat patients in Charlotte, North Carolina with a basic level of care. If a doctor neglects to follow certain protocols, they could get sued for malpractice. Two common types of malpractice include missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis.

Misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis stats

A misdiagnosis means the doctor found a condition, but diagnosed the wrong one, and missed diagnosis means failure to diagnose. Statistics show that misdiagnosis affects 5% of Americans annually for outpatient procedures, or about 12 million, and 10-20% of those patients have serious conditions. Other stats show one in three misdiagnosis cases are fatal or cause serious harm.

Vascular events, cancer, and infections, also called the Big Three, ranked the most likely to get misdiagnosed. Lung cancer has the highest misdiagnosis rate for cancers at 22.8%, and 44% of cancer get misdiagnosed. Spinal abscess is the most misdiagnosed infection at 62.1%, and aortic aneurysm and dissection make up around 27% of vascular events misdiagnosis.

Reasons for missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis occurs because symptoms of one disease or condition overlap with another. For example, lung cancer may get mistaken for asthma or irritable bowel syndrome for colon cancer.

Patients are more likely to get misdiagnosed in the ER because the staff is often rushed. Sometimes, doctors don’t spend enough time with patients, lack experience, or misread test results.

Failure to diagnose can also relate to biases against certain groups, such as women or minsters who have a 20% to 30% higher risk of misdiagnosis. Symptoms may present differently in women than men, which may get ignored by doctors. For example, women may experience less common stroke symptoms, such as general fatigue, hiccups, chest pain, and confusion.

A failure to diagnose can cause serious harm to patients from not getting the needed treatment. However, the patient has to prove the doctor breached their duty of care to get compensation.