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Study: One out of five patients misdiagnosed

Over the last several years, few industries have experienced as many advancements and breakthroughs as healthcare -- everything from new medications to state-of-the-art surgical and diagnostic tools.

Given these many medical advancements, one would think that now more than ever we could trust hospitals and doctors to quickly diagnose and treat our medical conditions. Sadly, if you believe this, you would be wrong.

In fact, all too often doctors and other medical professionals make significant mistakes and oversights that result in the misdiagnosis of patients. For instance, a study released just last year by one of the leading medical centers in the country, the Mayo Clinic, found that one out of every five patients were first misdiagnosed before seeking a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic.

Some of the surprising findings of this study, which were also discussed in a report by The Washington Post, included:

  • Only 12 percent of patients who sought a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic had their original diagnosis confirmed
  • 21 percent of patients who sought a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic received a completely new diagnosis
  • 88 percent of patients who sought a second opinion from the Mayo Clinic received a new or refined/modified diagnosis

So what can we take away from this study? Quite simply, that even doctors can get make mistakes, meaning we cannot afford to blindly trust that their diagnoses are always going to be correct.

While many of these misdiagnoses result in prolonged suffering, others can lead to death, especially if the misdiagnosis involves a serious condition such as cancer. Therefore, if you have been diagnosed but are not responding to your medications, it is probably a good idea to seek a second opinion.

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