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Legal,  Personal Injury Law

Misdiagnosis and Coming to Terms With How Common it is

How common is the incidence of misdiagnosis in Canada? Pat Croskerry, an ER doctor, estimated misdiagnosis rates of ‘around 10 to 15 per cent’, as he talked toCBC in 2017. Without a formal reporting regime, is it really such a surprise to hear doctors themselves admit to a high rate of incorrect or late diagnosis?

The reality, one which misdiagnosis lawyers want to highlight, is that medical misdiagnosis is far more common than one might think. TheNational Post quotes ‘70,000 patients a year experience preventable, serious injury as a result of treatments.’ It follows on to report the experience of Helen Church, 81 years old at the time, who first received corrective hernia operation – when she did not have hernia – and later fell victim to an error by her ophthalmologist, which caused a bleed in her eye.

That it is extreme cases that get reported in the media – such as that of Helen Church, or a misdiagnosis of breast cancer that inadvertently led to a mastectomy, or a mother losing her child to an incorrect diagnosis of croup – one gets the incorrect the impression that cases of misdiagnosis are always severe and rare.

Which is why it is not uncommon for patients to not realize they have been misdiagnosed. Only when a medical error becomes blatantly obvious, or the patient discovers for themselves that the diagnosis was incorrect is there the realization that one has fallen victim to a misdiagnosis by their physician. Some of the more commonly mistaken conditions misdiagnosis lawyers see are also some of the most serious:

Cancer – Misdiagnosis in cases involving cancer are said to occur in over a quarter of all cases. This can mean either the cancer was not diagnosed, incorrectly assessed, or even diagnosed despite it not being the case.

Heart Conditions – A misdiagnosis of chest pain, an inability to adequately understand the ailment means heart conditions are some of the most commonly missed or mistaken physical conditions.

Stroke – Symptoms of strokes are missed every year in thousands of patients according to a study by Johns Hopkins. It notes, misdiagnosis is particularly prevalent in ER visitors who complain of dizziness or headaches, women and people under the age of 45.

Serious infection – A misdiagnosis of serious infection, an unfortunately common occurrence, can have significant life-changing consequences, with even death a possibility.

Medical malpractice suits in Canada must demonstrate wrongdoing by the health practitioner or facility. At Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers, we are experienced at pursuing claims and advocating suits arising out of misdiagnosis. If you or your loved ones feel you have been victims of misdiagnosis, get in touch with our experienced misdiagnosis lawyers, so we can understand your case and discuss your best options.

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First published at https://www.neinstein.com/2018/11/16/misdiagnosis-coming-to-terms-common/.

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