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How common is medical misdiagnosis?

When you are experiencing health concerns, it can feel like you face many questions, and you rely on your doctor, nurses and other medical professionals to help you find answers. When they do not take steps to properly diagnose your condition, though, it can put your health at risk. While misdiagnosis may seem unthinkable when you rely on medical experts, it is more common than many believe.

How common is misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis affects millions of Americans each year—around 12 million people each year, according to some studies. Johns Hopkins reports that more than 100,000 people each year die or become permanently disabled as a result of misdiagnosis. These misdiagnoses are even more common among women or minorities.

Some forms of misdiagnosis are particularly common and dangerous. According to Johns Hopkins, around three in four cases of serious harm from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis result from infections, cancer or vascular events.

What danger does misdiagnosis pose?

Especially with serious medical conditions, early treatment is key. Misdiagnosis leaves those conditions without the treatment they need. Even if medical professionals eventually reach the correct diagnosis, that delay can have serious results. Not only is the search for the correct diagnosis stressful and often costly, it can allow conditions to worsen while untreated. Delays can also cause damage if patients take the wrong medication during that time.

If you or your loved ones have been harmed by misdiagnosis, you may want to speak to an attorney about your experience and the legal options available to you.

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