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What distinguishes missed diagnosis from misdiagnosis?

We trust our doctors to inform us if we have a medical problem. Unfortunately, we may not always get the correct information about our health. Some Connecticut patients are given a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. These are not the same, yet they both inaccurately describe a person’s condition and could lead to tragic consequences. Very Well Health distinguishes the two from each other and explains how they work.

When it comes to a misdiagnosis, a patient is diagnosed with a disease or some other health condition. The problem is that the diagnosis is incorrect. A doctor may tell a patient that they suffer from a case of the flu, but in reality the patient possesses something else, a condition that requires more extensive treatment to properly recover from.

Conversely, a missed diagnosis is when a physician misses a health issue completely, or misjudges a malignant problem for something that is benign and not life-threatening. In some cases, a person may exhibit symptoms of a health problem, but the person is not sent to the right specialist that would diagnose the problem correctly and thus misses whatever condition the person is suffering from.

No matter whether a person is misdiagnosed or is given a missed diagnosis, the consequences can often be the same. The person does not receive the right treatment or is not treated at all, and if the condition is severe enough, the person dies. In cases of misdiagnosis, a patient may be given the wrong treatment that aggravates the existing condition and causes a worse health problem or death. And while the exact number of misdiagnosed or non-diagnosed patients remains unknown, some experts believe the rate could reach as high as 40%.

Because misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis can happen at such a high rate, it is crucial to be vigilant if you suspect your doctor is not diagnosing you correctly. Sometimes it involves using differential diagnosis, which entails examining which diagnoses your physician rejected and learning why. You might find out that the decision process that diagnosed incorrectly or failed to diagnose a problem was wrong. You may also have to seek out a specialist for another examination.

Incorrect diagnoses can happen in many different ways. For this reason, you should not consider this article as actionable legal advice, only as general information.

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