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Which is more dangerous: a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis?

| Jun 3, 2017 | Failure to Diagnose

You may likely assume that medical malpractice lawsuits in Kew Gardens typically arise from cases where doctors committed an error during surgery or prescribed a patient the wrong medication. While such errors do indeed represent a significant contribution to the overall number of medical malpractice claims in the U.S., diagnostic errors actually outnumber them (at least according to information shared by the National Center for Policy Analysis). There are actually two different types of diagnostic mistakes: misdiagnoses and delayed diagnoses. The question is which is more dangerous?

A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor actually mistakes the condition you are suffering from with another. The real threat that comes from this sort of error is that typically the doctor will begin to treat the error he or she believes you to be suffering from. Incorrect treatment can not only exacerbate your current problem, but also lead to new issues.

A delayed diagnosis is just that: an issue that a clinician does not detect in an initial visit. The subsequent lack of treatment that follows allows your ailment to progress even further. This is particularly an issue with certain types of cancer, where the effects that such an illness may be producing in your body are continually mistaken for lesser issues, with your eventual cancer diagnosis only being discovered after it may have become inoperable.

Deciding whether a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnoses is more dangerous may be the ultimate case of “splitting hairs,” as the NCPA points out that as many as 28 percent of all diagnostic mistakes are life-threatening. What may be even more alarming is the fact that many doctors never learn from such errors, as patients like yourself will often seek second opinions and then never return to those initial providers.  

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