When you start to feel unwell, you may visit your Maryland doctor with the hope that he or she is going to be able to tell you what the problem is and what to do to fix it. Yet, many patients receive incorrect medical diagnoses from their doctors. When they do, it often has a serious impact on their prognosis. While medical misdiagnosis has the potential to impact all patients, research shows that your chance of receiving an inaccurate medical diagnosis increases if you are female or a minority.
According to Healthline, an estimated 12 million Americans receive inaccurate medical diagnoses every year. Furthermore, an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 patients lose their lives each year as a result of medical misdiagnosis.
Why medical misdiagnosis occurs
There are many different reasons medical misdiagnosis occurs in hospitals, clinics and other health care settings. Often, misdiagnosis is the result of human errors or flawed procedures used to diagnose patients. Other times, doctors misdiagnose patients after failing to recognize the significance of data collected during a patient examination, among other reasons.
Who is most likely to receive inaccurate diagnoses
Your chance of receiving a fully or partially inaccurate medical diagnosis is between 20% and 30% higher than it is for the average American patient if you are female. The same holds true if you are a minority. Misdiagnosis of heart disease is especially common among these groups.
If a doctor diagnoses you with a serious medical condition or recommends an intensive treatment regimen, you may want to consider getting a second medical opinion before moving forward.