You’re not feeling quite right, so you go to the doctor. You expect to be asked for your medical history and to describe your symptoms. You may even expect that the doctor may want to run a few tests. What you don’t expect is to walk away with a misdiagnosis — or no diagnosis at all. How does this happen?
Unfortunately, there are many diseases that mirror one another. A doctor can do their best work and still not pin down your illness. In fact, there are some that are known to be difficult to diagnose properly. While you can certainly file a medical malpractice lawsuit for a misdiagnosis, the facts surrounding your care will determine that suit’s success.
When you know the illnesses and conditions that are frequently misdiagnosed or missed altogether, you are better prepared to act as an advocate for your own health. Here are 10 conditions that are misdiagnosed the most often.
Some illnesses and conditions are diagnosed by a series of elimination. Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is one of those conditions. In order to be diagnosed with IBS correctly, you should have had symptoms for at least six months prior to your diagnosis, and symptoms should be present for at least three days a month.
Celiac disease is in the news frequently. The disease is a sensitivity to gluten and its symptoms include an inflammation of the small intestine. It can take, on average, a decade to be properly diagnosed with the disease. Celiac disease has a variety of symptoms, including heartburn, itchy skin, joint pain and headaches.
This condition is characterized by widespread pain. Doctors will rule out other diseases and when a person has no obvious physical causes for their pain, they tend to diagnose it as fibromyalgia. Medical professionals say that certain symptoms mimic irritable bowel syndrome, and you could be diagnosed with that illness should you visit a gastroenterologist instead of a rheumatologist.
Aches and pains could be symptoms of virtually anything, from exhaustion to the flu. In its early stages, the disease could actually be any number of other things. Blood tests can help doctors diagnose RA, but they must be coupled by a complete medical history and careful exam.
This is a serious disease that needs to be diagnosed, but its symptoms can be episodic. If a doctor suspects that a patient may have multiple sclerosis, MRIs and spinal taps can aid in making an accurate diagnosis.
Lyme disease is spread by a certain tick and can be tough to diagnose without the telltale bulls-eye rash. Fatigue, joint pain and headaches all come along with Lyme disease, but they also occur with the flu and other conditions. A blood test can detect Lyme disease antibodies in a patient, but not always immediately.
Some people with lupus develop a rash that is shaped like a butterfly. The rash occurs on the cheeks of these patients. When the rash is present, diagnosing lupus is fairly straightforward. The rash, however, does not appear in all patients, and symptoms can vary greatly.
Do you have irregular periods? So do millions of women. Do you have a weight gain that you can’t explain? That can be attributed to dozens of things. PCOS is a difficult diagnosis to make. Some women show physical signs, and some do not.
There is a misconception that when a person has a burst appendix or one that is inflamed, they know immediately. The truth is that typical symptoms do not involve intense pain, but tenderness, nausea and a fever. Once an appendix bursts, it can take days for symptoms to appear.
Most healthy women have period cramps. Those suffering with endometriosis have heavier than usual periods and painful cramping, both of which can be normal or the symptoms of something else entirely. A doctor may be able to diagnose the condition upon physical exam, but imaging is often necessary for a correct diagnosis.
When a person is misdiagnosed for any condition, it is not always the direct fault of a medical professional. Unfortunately, there are dozens of conditions that mimic one another or have no definitive symptoms of their own. If you are feeling under the weather or have persistent aches and pains, make sure that you disclose all of your symptoms and provide your doctor with all of the information you can.
If you believe that a doctor has misdiagnosed your condition due to an error or negligence, you have the right to compensation. Reach out to our medical malpractice attorneys in West Palm Beach for assistance in filing a lawsuit. We will review the details of your case at no cost to you and advise you of your legal options. You have a right to appropriate healthcare; do not assume that you did anything wrong. Call today to schedule your consultation.