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Misdiagnosis occurs in a variety of medical conditions

The concepts of being misdiagnosed by a doctor or a doctor failing to make a diagnosis are two concepts that most people don't think too much of. These are two concepts that can greatly affect patient care, even for patients who don't think they can be affected. Despite the improvements being made in the medical field, there are still issues that might be overlooked or not properly diagnosed. With as many as 98,000 dying annually because of medical errors regarding preventable diseases, learning about these medical errors might help some patients.

Topping the list of misdiagnosis are infections. Generally, this can occur if a doctor mistakes the type of infection. For example, diagnosing a bacterial infection when the true culprit is a viral infection.

The second on the list of top five misdiagnosed medical conditions is cancer. The rate of misdiagnosis of cancer is a whopping 12 percent. The most commonly misdiagnosed cancer is melanoma.

Shockingly, heart attacks are third on the list. Some of the symptoms of a heart attack can be very subtle, but because of the severity of a heart attack, the pressure is on to make an accurate diagnosis quickly when one occurs.

Ranking fourth on the list is a pulmonary embolism. This occurs when there is a blockage in an artery in the lung. Overall, pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis, which are considered venous thromboembolisms when grouped together, are the leading preventable cause of hospital patient deaths.

Number five on the list is heart disease. Because of the varied and sometimes subtle symptoms of heart disease, the chance of it being misdiagnosed is considerable.

In each of these cases, the patient is the one who suffers when the appropriate diagnosis isn't made quickly. In some cases, even a slight delay can be devastating.

Source: The Motley Fool, "The 5 Most Misdiagnosed Diseases," Sean Williams, accessed March. 31, 2015

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