5 Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Conditions

Most patients would be surprised to hear that a medical misdiagnosis is more common than they think. In the United States, an estimated 12 million people are misdiagnosed each year. About 40,000 to 80,000 people die annually due to complications from a medical misdiagnosis. If you have suffered harm as the result of a medical misdiagnosis, then you may be able to pursue a medical malpractice claim. There are some conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed, including:


Pulmonary Embolism

Unexplained shortness of breath, anxiety, chest pain, and sweating can all be symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, which is a blood clot in the lungs. However, many medical professionals misdiagnose this condition. If someone arrives at the emergency room with symptoms of a pulmonary embolism, it is essential that they receive treatment immediately as the condition can be deadly. However, too often, patients are sent home without the correct diagnosis, and the results can be tragic.



An early cancer diagnosis is essential for effective treatment. However, many medical professionals misdiagnose cancer. The five most commonly misdiagnosed cancers include lymphoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer. The failure to properly diagnose cancer can lead to poor outcomes for patients. Cancer misdiagnoses often result from incomplete medical histories and inadequate diagnostic testing.


Heart Attack

Heart attack symptoms can present differently in everyone, especially in women and younger people. An individual may come to the emergency room without the typical symptoms of a heart attack and be tragically misdiagnosed. Some people feel crushing chest pain during a heart attack while others only feel what seems like indigestion. Medical professionals have an obligation to run all necessary tests to rule out a heart attack, recognizing that the condition presents differently in certain patients.


Lyme Disease

Medical professionals typically look for a bullseye rash when diagnosing Lyme disease. However, some Lyme disease patients present without the rash but have other symptoms. Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite and can have symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, stiff neck, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Some patients wait for months before they receive a correct diagnosis.



Thousands of individuals with stroke symptoms go undiagnosed every year. Patients who present in the emergency room with stroke symptoms are sometimes thought to be drunk or suffering from migraine headaches. Medical professionals are more likely to misdiagnose a stroke in women, minorities, and younger people. If a stroke diagnosis is missed, and the patient doesn’t receive the appropriate treatment, the results can be tragic.


Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you’ve been injured as a result of a medical misdiagnosis, you should consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we’ve been helping the victims of medical negligence for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.