Lewis & Tompkins, P.C. | Maryland | Virginia | Washington, D.C.

Free Consultations

PLEASE NOTE: To protect your safety in response to the threats of COVID-19, we are offering our clients the ability to meet with us in person, via telephone or through video conferencing. Please call our office to discuss your options.

Most misdiagnosed medical conditions and what to do

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

Approximately 12 million patients in this county, approximately 5%, are misdiagnosed in outpatient settings each year. Estimates also show that 40,000 to 80,000 patients die each year from misdiagnosis. Most people will face a missed or delayed diagnosis sometime in their lives, according to a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report.

Most common misdiagnosis

The JAMA Network Network Open compiled a list of the 10 most common missed or delayed diagnosis based on a review of 836 relevant cases from medical malpractice claims, mortality round conferences that review patient fatalities and complications and focus-group responses.

The 10 most common misdiagnosed medical conditions are:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Myocardial infarction or heart attack
  • Bladder cancer
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Brain hemorrhage

A few other conditions are also repeatedly misdiagnosed in other research:

  • Heart failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Aortic aneurysm

A missed diagnosis, such as back pain being misdiagnosed as muscle pain when it is really osteoarthritis, does not have long-term consequences. But missing serious conditions such as vascular events, infections and cancers can have devastating consequences.