UK NHS deals with 1 million patients every 36 hours, a gigantic feat for the world’s leading healthcare service. But things can go wrong, and sometimes they do – in the form of a misdiagnosed medical diagnosis. If you believe you have been the victim of an incorrect medical diagnosis, you should contact a medical negligence legal counsel to discuss your case in more detail – but in the meantime you can learn a bit more about the field of medical misdiagnoses and some common examples of cases involving misdiagnoses.
What is an incorrect medical diagnosis?
Medical misdiagnosis is a specific form of medical negligence, for which victims can potentially receive compensation through legal proceedings. This is one of the five common types of medical negligence claim, the other four of which include: prescription errors, surgical negligence, birth injuries, and neglect of medical advice. Medical diagnostic error specifically refers to a doctor who errs in diagnosing a condition or disease – whether by diagnosing the condition as something other that the patient does not have. , or by not diagnosing a condition where it is present at all.
An incorrect medical diagnosis can have far-reaching implications for its victims, as improper care and treatment may be recommended, which not only does not treat their condition, but can also lead to dangerous side effects and further injury. As such, victims of a misdiagnosed medical diagnosis may have a case as a result of worsening their initial condition, or suffering injury from improper treatment, or both.
Common types of diagnostic errors
Misdiagnosis is the act of a doctor who misdiagnoses or misdiagnoses a patient – as such, it can happen with any disease or condition. However, there are some common conditions that can lead to misdiagnosis, due to their prevalence and symptoms.
Celiac disease is a pathological intolerance to gluten, which is a component found in many sources of fiber such as wheat and barley. Celiac disease is often misdiagnosed as IBS, a bowel disease indicating tenderness of the colon; stomach-related symptoms are somewhat similar, and tests for celiac disease are inconsistent – but misdiagnosing celiac disease can lead to malnutrition in people with the condition later.
Parkinson’s disease is also a common feature of misdiagnosis cases, as its main symptom can be mistaken for a mild tremor, and in some cases it can present as a head trauma. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease, which means missing the window to early treatment can have dire consequences for people with the disease.
Depression is a particularly prevalent example of conditions that are often misdiagnosed like. A famous study carried out in the 1990s found that depression can be wrongly attributed to somewhere between 30% and 50% of women, where physical conditions with symptoms similar to depression are the real culprit.
A case study of medical diagnostic error
A heartbreaking story of misdiagnosis and the dire effects they had on two young women has been published in the Huffington Post, as one discovered stage 3 ovarian cancer after years of misdiagnosis of IBS and intestinal fissures and the other was diagnosed with endometriosis after years of invasive treatment for non-existent interstitial cystitis . The first died and the second survived to tell the story.