Both the common cold and lung cancer cause some of the same symptoms. People simply performing an internet search of their own symptoms will not be able to accurately diagnose themselves.
They depend on a doctor to make sense of their symptoms and to order the necessary testing to get to the root cause of their health issues. Unfortunately, doctors sometimes reach the wrong conclusion or fail to diagnose someone at all.
Mistakes and delays in diagnosis can mean major health consequences for the patient involved. How common are diagnostic mistakes?
Doctors make millions of diagnostic errors every year
Every year, about 12 million patients seeking care in the United States deal with some degree of diagnostic error. For between 40,000 and 80,000, a wrong or delayed diagnosis will result in their deaths.
Delays in diagnosis can mean a lot of pain and suffering for the patient, to say nothing of the increased medical expenses they will have to cover. That’s especially true when the medical condition is a serious one, like cancer or stroke,
Diagnostic mistakes are a form of medical malpractice
You put a lot of trust in your doctor, and you expect them to take you seriously and act in your best interests when you report issues with your health. If your doctor refuses to order testing or makes a diagnosis without ruling out other causes, their improper diagnostic procedures could open them up to a medical malpractice claim.
Holding your doctor accountable for medical malpractice can compensate you for your medical expenses and perhaps prompt them to change how they practice medicine.