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Medical malpractice and misdiagnosing rare diseases

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Accidents & Incidents

Finding out that they have been diagnosed with the wrong disease can devastate an individual. Even worse, if the misdiagnosed individual receives the wrong care options and treatments from their Illinois doctor, their actual disease may progress. While common diseases can lead to such errors, the likelihood increases when a person has a rare disease.

What misdiagnosis means

Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional incorrectly assigns a diagnosis to a patient. Rare diseases are particularly prone to misdiagnosis because of the overlapping features often present in conditions like genetic syndromes. The limited knowledge within the medical community about rare diseases exacerbates this issue, increasing the likelihood of misdiagnosis. This challenge is particularly pronounced with so-called “orphan diseases,” which receive minimal media and research attention.

The consequences of a misdiagnosis

Many individuals experience delays in their healing process because of a misdiagnosis, leading to increased time and financial resources spent on unnecessary or potentially harmful treatments. Even when the treatment isn’t harmful, it results in frustrating and unnecessary doctor visits, appointments and tests. Meanwhile, patients may not see any improvement in their conditions, further impacting their quality of life as they contend with a medical condition that remains unresolved.

Receiving a misdiagnosis can leave a person feeling frustrated. They may be unable to access the right information, support groups or specialists who can make a difference in their lives. Thankfully, resources and studies are being dedicated to studying rare diseases, especially genetic ones. This helps individuals with the disease get accurate diagnoses faster. Additionally, financial compensation for expenses incurred during the misdiagnosis can sometimes be sought in the form of a medical malpractice claim.

In instances where they are misdiagnosed, research and study make it easier for them to get the correct diagnosis quickly. This, in turn, means receiving the right medication and finding some relief from the rare disease.