Montana residents may rely on their doctors and other medical professionals to diagnose and treat illnesses as they arise, but they may also have good reason to be concerned about mistakes. Every year, around 12 million people across the country are affected by diagnostic errors. Of course, these may vary widely in terms of their severity. Some people may have a correct diagnosis delayed for only a short time until test results come in, while other people may suffer a severely worsened medical condition due to the failure to diagnose a progressive disease.
Every year, up to 80,000 people lose their lives as a result of medical errors stemming from a misdiagnosis. One of the most serious concerns is the failure to diagnose cancer. Because cancer is typically a progressive disease and early detection and treatment may have a significant impact on recovery and survival, a mistaken diagnosis may mean that patients lose vital time to receive the treatment they need. Patients may not learn about their diagnosis until it is too late for effective surgery or chemotherapy.
Medical errors can intersect with other social concerns, and this is one place where this seems to be the case. Women and people of color are up to 30% more likely to be diagnosed. In some cases, this may be partially due to the attention given to male symptoms when women may have an entirely different symptom profile, as is the case with heart disease. There is also a long history of medical racism and sexism with which these patients contend.
A medical misdiagnosis can lead to serious problems, especially for people given incorrect treatments or who suffer a worsened condition as a result. A medical malpractice attorney may provide advice on how affected patients may seek compensation for their damages.