What are the dangers of a medical misdiagnosis in Virginia?

How many times have you heard someone say, "I don't have time to be sick?"

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People in DC lead busy, fast-paced lives. We routinely underestimate physical symptoms of sickness, dismissing a headache as stress, back pain as stiffness from a work chair-even treat chronic stomach problems with over-the-counter medications. "It's probably nothing," we say, eager to return to work.

But if a doctor made this same statement, would we believe it? More importantly-should we?

Many patients in Virginia are suffering from a doctor's medical misdiagnosis-sometimes without even being aware of it. Often, a physician will diagnose patients with something far less serious that what they actually have, resulting in a lack of treatment that allows their condition to get worse.

Some common conditions misdiagnosed by doctors in DC include:

  • Fibromyalgia. The main complaint of fibromyalgia patients is chronic pain or stiffness in the body. A patient may be told for years that they suffer from "aches and pains" before finally receiving the true diagnosis.
  • Epilepsy. Many doctors believe that seizures are a sure sign of epilepsy, when in fact there are many non-epileptic seizure causes, such as low blood sugar, sleep disorders, and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Stroke. Young patients are at particular risk for a stroke misdiagnosis in Virginia-their headaches, dizziness, and confusion are often thought to be intoxication.
  • Thyroid problems. Since symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, irritability and weight gain, many thyroid disorders are mistaken for depression.
  • Yeast infections. Many women are told their symptoms can be cured with over-the-counter medications, when their recurring yeast infections are in fact a side-effect of a sexually-transmitted disease.
  • Heart disease. A patient who is having difficulty breathing, stomach problems, or back pain may be treated for an anxiety disorder or acid reflux, since these symptoms of a heart attack are not well-known.

At best, a medical misdiagnosis in Virginia can cause unnecessary suffering for your condition. After all, it is only when you finally discover what you are suffering from that you can start a course of effective treatment.

But the key to many life-altering conditions is early treatment. Misdiagnosis of a serious condition can delay treatment-such as surgery, infusions, or medication-that could have drastically improved a patient's quality of life. In some cases, a misdiagnosis can even result in the wrongful death of the patient.

As experienced Fairfax medical malpractice attorneys, we know how important it is for medical professionals to be thorough when examining a patient. The doctor should not only take your symptoms into consideration, but also your medical history and family history-and should not hesitate to order further testing before making a diagnosis. 

We can hold doctors accountable for their mistakes! If your doctor failed to accurately diagnose your condition, call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 591-0067 for a free consultation in your Virginia medical malpractice case.