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Study finds many patients misdiagnosed

Pennsylvania patients like to think that their doctors always make the correct diagnosis. However, a study shows that around 20 percent of patients who seek a second opinion for a medical issue discover that they were misdiagnosed the first time.

For the study, which was published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, researchers examined the records of approximately 300 patients who sought a second opinion at the Mayo Clinic after receiving an initial diagnosis from their primary care physician. They found that about 20 percent of patients were incorrectly diagnosed by their original doctors. However, medical experts point out that the Mayo Clinic handles very difficult cases, which could unfavorably skew the misdiagnosis rate.

Even if the misdiagnosis rate for general cases is lower than 20 percent, the risks are still statistically significant. Health care advocates recommend that patients seek a second opinion for any serious disease or complex condition. Patients should also feel comfortable asking for a second opinion for conditions that fail to respond to treatment or if they have concerns with the way their current doctor is handling their issue.

For many patients, receiving the correct diagnosis is a matter of life or death. Patients who have suffered a worsened condition due to a doctor's failure to diagnose their condition may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit . Typical settlements in such cases often include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. An attorney could recommend the best course of action.

Source: Denver CBS, "Here's An Opinion: Get A Second One", Dave Hnida, April 6, 2017

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