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5 conditions doctors commonly misdiagnose

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2017 | Blog

Many conditions share similar symptoms. For example, you might go see your doctor because you are experiencing dizziness, sweating and nausea. After a cursory exam, she might send you home with a prescription for flu medication. Unfortunately, these symptoms are also present in an individual suffering a heart attack. In cases like this, the wrong medical opinion can result in death.

Every year, approximately five percent of adults that visit a hospital or clinic for outpatient services walk away with the wrong diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis or a completely missed condition. This means that if you walk into your preferred clinic in Mansfield and Sandusky, OH and there are already nineteen patients present, one of you could wind up with the wrong medical care or none at all. Learn more about more about the diseases and conditions most misdiagnosed:

Heart attacks

Not every person will experience a heart attack the same way. While some people might feel the common symptoms of chest pain and left-arm discomfort, others might feel pain in the neck, shoulders or back instead. Or, as mentioned in the example above, the symptoms might mimic those of the flu. Since heart attacks are less common in younger people, they are more at risk for a misdiagnosis than someone over the age of 40.


There are certain cancers that doctors commonly take an inordinately long time to diagnose. Lung cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancers are the top three types that often do not receive timely diagnoses. This is usually because the doctor neglects to order a biopsy even after receiving abnormal test results.

Pulmonary embolism

Pulmonary embolism is a vascular disease that happens when there is a blood clot in the lungs. According to recent studies, this condition is at the top of the list for those most misdiagnosed. The main reason for this is that the symptoms of pulmonary embolism look very much like those of the common cold, asthma and pneumonia. In order to properly diagnose the condition, doctors must perform very thorough tests and only one false negative can easily lead to a misdiagnosis.


Intoxication and overdose are also conditions that doctors often misdiagnose. However, the main reason for this is that most patients are not totally honest about the substances they have taken. However, an overdose can also occur when a patient is taking prescription opioid painkillers. Since many of the patients are older and suffering from chronic pain or other conditions, the possibility of an overdose often does not enter the examining physician’s mind.


While, in many cases, the symptoms of a stroke usually appear within minutes of each other, there are some instances where the onset occurs over the course of several hours or even days. These individuals are the most at risk of a misdiagnosis. For example, if a patient is only experiencing head pain, a doctor may diagnose it as a migraine instead of a stroke.

A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can easily lead to a patient’s death. Unfortunately, doctors can make a mistake by not doing a thorough enough examination, dismissing certain symptoms and overlooking other contributing factors. If you or a loved one has received a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis due to doctor negligence, you might be able to take legal action and fight for the compensation you deserve.