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Common reasons for misdiagnosis

Pennsylvania residents may understand that not every diagnosis made is a correct one. In some cases, the patient may be at least partially responsible for an incorrect diagnosis. For instance, a patient may try to determine what he or she has without consulting with a medical professional. He or she may also fail to report symptoms or fail to undergo ordered tests because of embarrassment.

However, a doctor may also make an incorrect diagnosis even when he or she has all the information needed from a patient. This may be because there are over 20,000 human diseases, of which a doctor may only be able to recognize those that occur the most. The doctor's skill level, bias and lack of time with a patient may also contribute to missing a diagnosis. In some cases, tests may not be ordered because he or she wants to save a patient money.

Human error during a lab test could provide incorrect or inconclusive results. For instance, a sample could be contaminated or handled incorrectly, or it could be interpreted incorrectly after a visual inspection. In some cases, the test itself may fail because a patient has multiple conditions, which could lead to a false positive or a false negative result. While human error or test failure occurs rarely, they could play a role in a misdiagnosis.

If a misdiagnosis occurs because of the actions of a negligent physician, a patient may be able to take legal action against that person. A patient may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages or lost future earnings related to the improper diagnosis. An attorney may review medical records, doctor statements and other information that may establish that negligence led to a patient receiving the wrong diagnosis.

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