When we visit a doctor or medical professional we trust their judgement and years of training in diagnosing our health problems. However, occasionally they fail to meet these expectations and either miss signs of illness or diagnose the condition as something else.
Misdiagnosis can be summarised in two ways. The first is when an illness or condition is not diagnosed at all. The second occurs when the wrong diagnosis is made.
An example of the first type of misdiagnosis could be when a patient has visited their GP with stomach problems, but their concerns are dismissed and a diagnosis is not made, only to later discover they have a form of cancer.
An example of the second form of misdiagnosis could be when a patient repeatedly visits their GP describing stomach problems and they are wrongly diagnosed. The GP then offers them treatment which they take only to later discover the diagnosis was wrong and they have a form of cancer.
These examples highlight the importance of early and correct diagnosis, as cancer can spread quickly. An error could have potentially life threatening consequences for the patient.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK and misdiagnosis is not uncommon. As breast cancer is more prevalent in older women, misdiagnosis might wrongly occur in younger patients. Often simple tests are missed which could identify the cancer.
In men, prostate cancer is common; however rectal examinations and blood tests can increase the chance of spotting any problems. Guidelines recommend that men with symptoms of prostate cancer should be offered these types of tests.
If you have suffered due to a missed diagnosis or have been wrongly diagnosed with a different condition then you may be eligible for compensation.
For more information on the different areas of medical negligence please click here to read our free guide or call Rollingsons medical negligence team on 0207 611 4848 to arrange a free and no obligation initial consultation.