Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is a common occurrence regardless of your age. It can be difficult to pin down the exact number of individuals suffering due to misdiagnosis, as some of these cases go unknown. However, a 2014 article from CBS reported that approximately 12 million American adults who received outpatient medical care were misdiagnosed. This equates to about 1 in 20 adult patients. According to the National Academy of Medicine, it is likely that everyone in the United States will experience a misdiagnosis at least once in his or her lifetime. These cases are exceedingly dangerous for older patients, especially those in nursing homes who rely on the judgment of nursing home medical professionals and employees. Having a general knowledge of commonly misdiagnosed illnesses can help you protect your beloved family member.
Misdiagnosis Versus Missed Diagnosis
There are two types of incorrect diagnoses that can occur, missed diagnosis and misdiagnosis. A missed diagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose the patient with any illness even though the patient has an illness or disease that he or she is currently enduring. This is not uncommon for illnesses that have minor or dormant symptoms. A misdiagnosis also deals with inaccurate care but in a different manner. Rather than not being diagnosed at all, patients are diagnosed with the wrong disease or illness. A misdiagnosis will often have doctors prescribing incorrect medication as well. Not only will the real disease not be treated properly, but it can also lead to dangerous side effects from the drugs that they have been taking to battle the misdiagnosed condition.
Incorrect diagnoses are often made because there are certain conditions that are more difficult to diagnose than others. The following four conditions are commonly misdiagnosed, making them more important to monitor:
Heart Attack – Because heart attacks can come in different levels of pain, they can sometimes be mistaken as anxiety attacks or indigestion. They are very common for older people and can be more deadly since the elderly have a difficult time recovering from serious health issues. Ensuring that your loved one has his or her heart checked regularly is a good way to be aware of any possible cardiac issues.
Cancer – This illness has become increasingly common and easier to detect with the improvement of technology; however, symptoms are often invisible until it is too late. According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology, cancer is missed or misdiagnosed up to 44 percent of the time. Cancer is difficult to battle regardless of your age, making it imperative to seek more than one medical opinion on all diagnoses.
Strokes – The symptoms associated with strokes can often be written off as intoxication, vertigo, or a migraine. For the elderly, strokes can be detrimental to their health and almost impossible from which to recover. If you notice sudden numbness of the face, arms or legs, confusion, trouble seeing or walking, and a severe headache without a known cause, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Depression – Symptoms of depression can go undetected due to their lack of visibility. Because depression is tied to mental health, it is important to keep a watch on your loved one’s emotions and actions. Many nursing home patients suffer from the condition due to their environment and outlook on life in relation to their age. Depression may not seem to need immediate intervention, but it can quickly lead to worsened health as a whole.
Contact a Plainfield, IL Nursing Home Misdiagnosis Lawyer
Inadequate or incorrect medical care can be deadly for those patients who reside in nursing homes. Many of these individuals do not see their family members frequently, making it difficult to detect misdiagnoses before they take a turn for the worse. At Flaherty Law, we believe that all nursing home residents should receive the utmost care, especially since they place their health in the hands of the medical staff. Attorney Daniel Flaherty has extensive experience advocating for patients harmed under the care of negligent nursing homes. If your loved one is experiencing inadequate care or has been misdiagnosed, contact our Will County nursing home negligence attorney at 815-577-7500 for a free consultation.