Clinical misdiagnosis remains an ongoing issue in the UK, with patients receiving the wrong medical advice and treatment leading to death or long-term disability.
Diagnostic mistakes can happen across all areas of medicine, with varying levels of consequences.
Often illnesses and symptoms are classified according to a standard system, which is not always an effective approach as the factors and symptoms revolving around a person's illness can vary greatly.
For example, doctors often fail to spot coronary heart disease, which can result in chest pains or a heart attack.
The symptoms of coronary heart disease vary from person to person, which can make the condition challenging for doctors to spot.
In addition, symptoms also differ between men and women, leading to more women being misdiagnosed as experiencing a muscular event.
It is not until the condition becomes exacerbated or leads to a serious injury that the true diagnosis of coronary heart disease is recognised, highlighting that misdiagnosis has occurred.
Most errors have occurred during an emergency situation or in an outpatient setting under the NHS.
The potential implications of a misdiagnosis cannot be understated, and may include:
- Financial hardship
- Unnecessary treatment
- The missed opportunity for potentially life-saving treatment
If you have received a missed diagnosis or your doctor has made a mistake, and this has caused you harm, you may have a strong case for compensation.