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Medical misdiagnosis: a common occurrence

Physicians are widely known as experts who give straightforward and honest medical guidance to those in their care. Yet when a patient realizes they have been misdiagnosed with a serious illness, that trust can completely dissipate. Misdiagnoses of conditions are more common than one might assume. Washington law protects patients who have experienced physical and mental damage as a result of such medical errors.

 

Human error is no stranger to the medical industry, but with today's highly accurate technology in the field, it might seem a declining issue. According to The Washington Post, over 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion at the renowned Mayo Clinic discovered they had been misdiagnosed by their physicians. While 12 percent of those patients had received proper diagnoses, the remaining patients of the study recieived diagnoses that were somewhat aligned with their conditions diagnosed by the Mayo Clinic. Accuracy, however, is not simple; the Post also showed that, out of roughly 10,000 known diseases, there are only about 200 to 300 symptoms. And although misdiagnoses are a common occurrence, they can come with serious medical consequences.

The determining of illnesses and other conditions may prove difficult, but what happens when those diagnoses are of serious diseases? ABC News adds that misdiagnosed cancer is another common occurrence in the world of healthcare. Providing the results of a John Hopkins Hospital study in which researchers studied 6,000 cancer patients' tissue samples, ABC noted that an alarming 1.3 million people are misdiagnosed with cancer every year. From that 6,000-patient study, researchers found that one in 71 cases were misdiagnosed. When the diagnosis is of a serious disease such as cancer, patients may go through rigorous -- but frivolous -- procedures that are simply irreversible.      

       

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