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Misdiagnosies might be more likely for women

Inaccurate and delayed diagnoses affect women more than men with regard to at least some specific diseases and medical conditions. With regard to heart disease, for example, women are 50 percent more likely to be incorrectly diagnosed initially, even if they have had a heart attack. Female patients are approximately 30 percent more likely than their male counterparts to have stroke symptoms misdiagnosed. Seventy-five percent of autoimmune disease cases are women, in Florida and across the U.S., and it takes five doctors, on average, before the correct diagnosis is reached.

The first nationwide survey of medical students regarding how medical education addressed gender and sex found that only 43.1 percent of students thought their curricula had increased their understanding of gender and sex medicine. Only 34.5 percent said they thought they'd been prepared to handle gender and sex differences in providing health care. The doctor who published the report said that the misdiagnoses and delays that impact women are results, at least in part, of these gaps in medical education.

A study found that women are less likely than men to be prescribed pain medication or opiates if they are admitted to an emergency room complaining of abdominal pain. The study ignored cases where the woman was pregnant or had a known injury. According to a report, women are less likely to have pain treated aggressively and more likely to have complaints of pain dismissed as not real or emotional.

In a case where a patient suffers harm as a result of a delayed or incorrect diagnosis, he or she may be entitled to compensation for damages. An attorney with experience in medical professional negligence might be able to help in such a case by gathering evidence in support of the client's claims, including the opinions of one or more medical experts.

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