Women are at a higher risk than men for missed or mistaken medical diagnoses

When you’re sick, you rely on your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. That’s the biggest hurdle to achieving a positive outcome for your condition.

Unfortunately, many doctors fail to properly diagnose their patients. Although this kind of medical mistake can happen to anyone, certain groups of people are at higher risk for missed and mistaken diagnoses than others. As a group, for example, women are at higher risk than men for misdiagnosis both of chronic conditions and severe, possibly life-threatening medical events.

Doctors often ignore or downplay women’s self-reported symptoms

Perhaps the biggest issue for women trying to get an accurate diagnosis is that doctors tend to be more skeptical or dismissive of their self-reported symptoms. 

For example, women with severe abdominal pain caused by endometriosis may have to go years before a doctor finally agrees that the issue is more than standard menstrual cramps. Doctors may even attribute symptoms that women experience to mere ordinary menstrual pain or being overweight instead of exploring the real cause. 

Doctors don’t always catch the signs of serious issues in women

Both stroke and heart attack symptoms are different in some women when compared to men. Unfortunately, many doctors have a medical education that did not teach them about the different presentations of these conditions in women. Women can even get turned away from emergency services without assistance when they’re in the middle of a medical crisis, possibly with tragic consequences. 

Anyone negatively affected by a missed or mistaken diagnosis or who lost a loved one because doctors didn’t listen to them may have grounds for medical malpractice claims. Working with an attorney can help you learn more about your legal options.