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Study reveals most commonly misdiagnosed ailments

Each year, delayed or wrong diagnoses kill or permanently disable 100,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins University. The study identified three disease categories where a majority of the missed or wrong diagnoses occur: infections, vascular conditions and cancers.

Researchers say misdiagnoses are the leading cause of medical mistakes and continue to be a serious issue. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer.

Tracking the Big Three health conditions

Researchers have dubbed the top most commonly misdiagnosed disease categories as the Big Three and say they account for 75% of health problems caused by missed or delayed diagnoses. The study suggests the most serious cases concern a small group of ailments, including:

  • Stroke
  • Sepsis
  • Lung cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Severe blood clots
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Breast, prostate and skin cancers

Leading causes for delayed or missed diagnoses

The Johns Hopkins survey concludes the most common reason for errors are due to judgment mistakes, such as failing to order an appropriate consultation or test, taking too narrow of an approach when diagnosing, improperly evaluating test results and symptoms, and misinterpreting test results.

The study says 71% of these errors occur in outpatient care facilities where cancer misdiagnoses were most likely to happen, and in emergency rooms, where the most diagnostic errors involve infections and vascular-related events.

Take charge of your medical care

Researchers say medical professionals must improve their diagnostic processes to reduce errors and develop new systems that will enhance accuracy. They also say patients must take steps to help ensure a better outcome, including finding appropriate specialists.

Medical mistakes can cause serious conditions and expensive treatments. If a doctor misses or wrongly diagnoses your condition, you have legal rights and options. An experienced personal injury attorney specializing in medical malpractice here in Arizona will protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.

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