Nothing feels worse than knowing you are sick but receiving no answer about your condition from your physician. The fact is, certain conditions are often overlooked by physicians who do not take the care necessary to make a proper diagnosis. Sadly, these misdiagnoses or delays in diagnoses can cause harm to patients who suffer a worsened condition due to a physician’s malpractice.
What medical conditions are often overlooked?
Physicians often overlook certain medical conditions. These include:
- Certain cancers including colorectal cancer, lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and bladder cancer
- Heart conditions including heart attacks and strokes
- Pulmonary embolism, and
- Brain hemorrhage
There are other often-overlooked medical conditions in primary care settings including pneumonia, heart failure, kidney failure and urinary tract infections. Fractures, abscesses and aortic aneurysms are also often overlooked.
Why are these mistakes made?
There are some reasons why physicians make diagnostic errors. Miscommunications where the physician misses something the patient said can lead to a diagnostic error. Diagnostic errors can also occur if the physician orders the wrong test or reads a test incorrectly. Diagnostic errors also occur if data in electronic medical records is wrong, or a physician fails to recommend a referral.
A physician’s duty of care
Ultimately, physicians have a duty of care to practice as a reasonable physician in similar circumstances would. The circumstances depend on the type of medicine the physician practices and the accepted practices of other physicians in the same geographic area with the same equipment and facilities available therein. If a physician breaches their duty of care, for example, by overlooking a diagnosis or misdiagnosing a condition, and the breach causes a patient harm, the patient may be able to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit.