You have probably had your share of health scares in your life. Whether it is waking in the night with a sudden pain, learning of congenital disease in your family or receiving a frightening diagnosis, your first thought may be to seek the advice of a skilled doctor. Unfortunately for many in North Carolina and beyond, taking this step does not always bring the comfort and positive resolution they were expecting.

This is because they fall victim to one of the most common examples of medical malpractice: misdiagnosis. With the tremendous advancements in diagnostic techniques and equipment, you would think that errors in diagnostics would be almost nonexistent. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and the most common diagnostic errors often result in serious harm.

Why the mistakes?

About 10% of patients who suffer from cancer, infections or major vascular issues receive a wrong diagnosis. These three are the most commonly misdiagnosed medical groups and comprise about 15 specific conditions. Among those conditions are spinal abscesses, meningitis, aortic aneurysms and lung cancer. More than half of the patients who receive a wrong diagnosis in any of the “Big Three” categories end up with permanent or fatal injuries.

You can guess some of the reasons why these conditions are so often missed or why it may take longer to definitively identify them. A recent report suggests that infections, certain cancers and many vascular events do not receive much funding for research into diagnostic techniques. Another issue is that diagnostic tests, such as blood work, X-rays, biopsies and others, may pass through numerous hands for analysis. A breakdown at any stage in the process can lead to a tragic mistake.

What next?

If you or someone you love is among the millions who suffer from medical mistakes, including the missed or delayed diagnosis of a serious disease, you know how devastating it can be. An incorrect diagnosis can mean delayed treatment, and if a condition progresses rapidly, it may be too late to avoid serious injury or death. To make matters worse, you may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on useless treatments.

You do not have to carry this burden alone. You have options for holding accountable those whose negligence or incompetence resulted in a tragic outcome for your family. By consulting a compassionate and experienced attorney, you may learn of the most appropriate course of action for your situation.