The Most Common Illnesses Misdiagnosed in the U.S.

Diagnostic errors are a common cause for malpractice lawsuits in the United States. In fact, the chance of receiving a misdiagnosis is much greater than patients realize. One study found that diagnostic errors might affect 12 million patients – approximately one out of every 20 American adults. Specific illnesses and conditions are more commonly misdiagnosed than others. While not all issues of illnesses misdiagnosed are considered malpractice, a vast majority are when the physician fails to perform necessary diagnostic steps.

5 Common Diseases and Conditions Subject to Misdiagnosis Each Year

Illnesses are difficult to diagnose. When a doctor carries out a misdiagnosis due to incompetence or negligence, it is a matter of malpractice.

1. Cancer Conditions: Melanoma, Sarcomas, and Breast Cancer

Sadly, one of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses is cancer. Per the Journal of Clinical Oncology, cancer misdiagnoses occur up to 28% of the time and as high as 44% for certain types of cancer. Melanoma, breast cancer, sarcomas, and lymphomas are frequently misdiagnosed.

2. Heart Attacks in Older Adults

Heart attack symptoms do vary, but proper diagnosis is critical for survival. More Elderly patients often have different symptoms or appear with indigestion. Also, women are more likely to be misdiagnosed with a heart attack, because women do not exhibit the classic symptoms.

3. Celiac Disease: An Allergy to Gluten

Celiac disease is an allergy to gluten, but the symptoms vary dramatically from person to person. Most patients suffering from Celiac disease are misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome instead.

4. Stroke Misdiagnosed as Migraines or Intoxication

The early warning signs of a disabling stroke are often misconstrued for other conditions. Strokes are typically misdiagnosed as migraines, vertigo, and alcohol intoxication.

5. Thyroid Conditions: Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

A standard issue of hormonal imbalances in men and women come from thyroid disease. These fluctuations can include everything from muscle pain to weakness and fatigue. Thyroid conditions are often misdiagnosed as depression.

What Can a Patient Do About a Misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis can be costly for a patient. Not only may they endure unnecessary tests and treatments for an illness they do not have, but valuable time could be wasted. In the instance of cancer, prompt treatment increases the likelihood a person will survive. Therefore, when cancer goes undiagnosed, a patient might miss an opportunity to treat their cancer. Any patient that suffers from the consequences of a misdiagnosis should consult with an attorney. An attorney can help determine if negligence or incompetence is to blame, then ensure that patient receives compensation.

Call Udall Shumway, PLC to explore your options regarding your misdiagnosis.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you or someone you know wishes to seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney regarding Illnesses Misdiagnosed, or other personal injury matters, call Mesa AZ Personal Injury Attorney Clark R. Richter at 480-461-5321 or contact him at for a free consultation to discuss your rights and options. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.