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What is the most common mistake doctors make?

It's true that even some good doctors make mistakes, but that's no excuse for the errors. When you're a patient, errors can impact you in a variety of ways, from causing minor inconveniences to causing serious health issues. One of the most common issues that comes up is a misdiagnosis. For someone suffering from the common cold, a diagnosis of the flu might not make a huge impact. The same is true if an allergy is treated as something like pneumonia; you might take a lot of medications, but it's unlikely to hurt you. The problem is when something more serious is misdiagnosed or goes untreated. For example, cancer, which can quickly spread, could turn lethal by the time it's diagnosed correctly.

A misdiagnosis is the most common medical mistake made by doctors, and it's not always unexpected. Unusual cases can be hard to diagnose or there could be similarities between conditions. Still, studies have shown that around 15 percent of all medical problems are misdiagnosed initially.

Some of the common misdiagnoses include failing to diagnose pneumonia, congestive heart failure, cancer, urinary tract infections and renal failure. Those who skip the hospital to go to a doctor's office are at a higher risk of these misdiagnoses; they occur twice as often in doctors' offices, according to Consumer Reports.

It's been reported that around 160,000 hospitalized patients suffer from severe, permanent injuries or die due to misdiagnosed conditions. Some missed diagnoses are completely missed, while other times patients may be diagnosed later than they should have been.

So, how can you protect yourself? Come prepared. Have questions ready, and have a list of your symptoms for your doctor. If you're taking a treatment, know how soon you should feel better and say something if you don't.

Source: Newsmax Health, "10 Mistakes Even Good Doctors Make," Lynn Allison, accessed Aug. 15, 2016

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