Accurate diagnosis of medical conditions is among the most important parts of a doctor's job, but misdiagnoses happen all the time in Florida and nationwide. It's a problem that can affect anyone, but women might be more likely to be misdiagnosed according to some studies. Conditions that doctors and other health professionals could miss when women come in include heart disease, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and fibromyalgia.
The biggest killer of women in the United States is heart disease, but it is often misdiagnosed because it has similar symptoms to other conditions. Symptoms of heart disease include nausea, shortness of breath, chest pain, fatigue, palpitations and dizziness. Some of these are also symptoms of anxiety or heartburn, so doctors sometimes misdiagnose heart disease as one of these conditions. Cancer, too, is often misdiagnosed as a less serious condition like an infection. A doctor's misdiagnosis of breast cancer, throat cancer, ovarian cancer or bladder cancer can have serious consequences by delaying proper treatment.
Irritable bowel syndrome can be misdiagnosed in women because its symptoms could be confused with those of premenstrual syndrome. IBS can manifest as excess gas, cramping, diarrhea, constipation or stomach pain. Fibromyalgia is sometimes referred to as the invisible disease because doctors have a hard time diagnosing and treating it. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include spasms, muscle pain, tingling skin, nerve pain or weakness in the limbs.
People who are harmed due to the misdiagnosis of a condition might have claims for damages including pain and suffering, medical expenses or lost wages. A lawyer who handles medical malpractice cases might be able to help an injured party by identifying actions that fall below the required standard of care or by gathering evidence in anticipation of a civil trial. A lawyer might attempt to negotiate settlement with healthcare facilities, doctors and other parties who may be liable for misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis.