In 2017, the NFL’s New Orleans Saints dismissed their team orthopedists because the doctors diagnosed cornerback Delvin Breaux's broken fibula as a bruise and made it look like the slow-to-rebound player was dogging it.
What the injury actually required was surgery.
Misdiagnosis can happen to anyone — even high-profile athletes. According to a new report in the journal Diagnosis, an estimated 100,000 Americans are permanently disabled or die every year because of a medical diagnosis that initially overlooks their condition altogether, or is wrong or delayed.
The “big three” misses, say the researchers, are vascular events (stroke is No. 1 in that category), infections (No. 1 is sepsis), and cancers (No. 1 is lung cancer), accounting for 75% of malpractice insurance claims.
That’s scary stuff.
But remember, those numbers are out of 131 million visits to emergency rooms and more than 35 million hospital admissions annually. Luckily, you can do a lot to protect yourself.
First, get a second opinion. Quality physicians welcome that. After an emergency room diagnosis, always get your regular doctor involved.
Second, listen to your gut, or your loved one's gut. If you or your loved one feels something more is going on, or are unsettled by what you've been told, ask questions and demand answers.
Third, don't be foolishly tough. Do you think you should be able to tough out anything life throws your way? Nope. Let doctors know everything you're feeling and dealing with, as well as all supplements and over-the-counter products you're taking and your medical history.
A little chutzpah on your part and shared knowledge can help you avoid a dangerous misdiagnosis.