When a doctor misses a disease or makes the wrong diagnosis, it can have devastating consequences. Patients may spend months or even years not getting the treatment they need or getting treatment for a disease they do not even have. In some situations, diseases progress during this time so that they can’t be cured at all, when early detection would have allowed the patient to have life-saving options.
It’s important to understand that doctors are human and they do make mistakes. Never assume that they’re always right. Here are five diseases that they often miss:
- Lupus: This autoimmune disease leads to swelling and inflammation when the body, rather than attacking invaders like viruses and bacteria, turns on itself. Healthy tissue gets attacked and damaged. Doctors may miss it because it can attack any part of the body, so the symptoms can appear very different from one person to the next.
- Celiac disease: If you’ve heard people say that they’re “gluten free,” this may mean that they have celiac disease. It makes it so that your body can’t properly process the gluten found in many foods — it comes in rye, barley and wheat. Doctors may miss it because the symptoms include things like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, weight loss and other gastronomical issues that can have many causes.
- Cancer: The problem with cancer is that symptoms may not suggest it’s cancer when it is internal, rather than external. For instance, a dermatologist may have little trouble identifying skin cancer, but a primary care doctor may think that something like colorectal cancer is intestinal TB or just an ulcer. It can produce the same stomach cramps and other symptoms. The real disease may not show up if doctors do not do a colonoscopy or similar procedure.
- Sleep apnea: This is a very dangerous and sometimes fatal sleeping condition that can lead to strokes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Since the symptoms happen while you sleep, people with the disorder often don’t know they have it and the main notable symptom for a partner may simply be snoring. It can take doctors far too long to figure out what’s going on.
- Aneurysms. These are often called “time bombs” because they can quickly become fatal. The speed at which they take lives means that any mistake by a doctor could prove deadly. Many patients don’t even make it to the hospital, and those who do need immediate care.
Have you suffered because a doctor made a mistake? If so, make sure you know if you have a right to seek financial compensation. Remember, you deserve a high level of care at every stage in the process, from every medical professional you see.