The Law Offices of John Phebus

The leading causes of medical misdiagnoses

Thousands of patients are misdiagnosed in Arizona and around the country every year. A misdiagnosis could cause someone to not receive the medical care he or she desperately needs, and this kind of medical mistake can be fatal when progressive diseases like cancer remain undetected. While patients may be to blame when they do not report all their symptoms or fail to complete the tests ordered by their doctors, misdiagnoses are more often caused by negligent physicians or laboratory staff.

There are more than 20,000 medical conditions that can afflict human beings, and most doctors are only familiar with the most common ones. Physicians are also prone to diagnosing conditions they encounter frequently when presented with its typical symptoms, but this can cause them to overlook other symptoms that indicate a different and possibly more serious disease. The activities of doctors are closely scrutinized by hospitals and health insurance providers, and this can make them reluctant to order costly tests when a diagnosis is uncertain.

When doctors do order tests, there is no guarantee that laboratory technicians will perform them correctly. Results can be misleading when samples are mishandled or contaminated, and the failure of technicians to adhere to strict testing protocols can result in misdiagnoses. Certain medical conditions may skew specific results, and doctors are expected to be aware of these interactions and order tests accordingly.

People can pursue civil remedies when they suffer the consequences of a medical misdiagnosis, but this kind of litigation can be difficult because doctors are rarely willing to admit to their mistakes. Personal injury attorneys with medical malpractice experience may counter this reluctance by calling on experts of their own to examine patient records and determine where errors may have been made.

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