Top Five Most Commonly Misdiagnosed Diseases

May 28, 2020

According to one study, doctors misdiagnose about 20 percent of the patients they see. Generally, a lack of accurate information is the root of these problems. 

Some doctors do not run a full battery of tests, mostly because they fear the insurance company will not pay for them. Moreover, many physicians delegate test result interpretation to nurses or techs. These professionals might not have the requisite skills.

Physicians have a very high duty of care. When doctors fall short, a Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney is often able to obtain substantial compensation. Victims need this compensation to pay for medical bills associated with the misdiagnosis. They also deserve compensation for their pain and suffering.

Moreover, many Los Angeles County jurors award substantial punitive damages in these cases. These damages are available if there is clear and convincing evidence that the negligent doctor intentionally disregarded a known risk and put other people at risk.

Head Injuries

Accidents, like falls and car crashes, cause most head injuries. So, many doctors misdiagnose initial symptoms, like soreness and disorientation, as shock from the accident. As a result, these victims do not get the medical attention they need until their symptoms become more severe.

These severe symptoms usually include headaches, personality changes, and tinnitus (constant ringing in the ears). Once these symptoms appear, head injuries are permanent, because dead brain cells never regenerate. However, some combination of delicate surgery and extensive therapy usually alleviates the symptoms.


These conditions usually affect older people. Actor Luke Perry’s 2019 stroke-related death might change this perception. Perry was only 52. However, that change has not taken effect yet. When younger people have stroke symptoms, doctors often misdiagnose their condition as alcohol impairment or some other far less serious condition.

Heart Attacks

Many people are surprised that this condition is on a top-five misdiagnosed list. But many people do not experience signature symptoms. For example, many females do not have severe chest pains. As a result, doctors could misdiagnose heart attacks as severe indigestion or another relatively mild problem. That’s especially true if there is little or no supporting diagnostic test data.


Some doctors do not even consider fibromyalgia to be a legitimate condition. These individuals often suffer from pain in random parts of their bodies. Because of the general skepticism and lack of an apparent cause, many doctors misdiagnose fibromyalgia as arthritis. Unfortunately, many arthritis treatments inflame fibromyalgia.


Most doctors consider cancer to be a lifestyle or genetic condition. They hardly ever diagnose brain cancer in someone with no relevant family history or lung cancer among nonsmokers. 

Lung cancer is also an example of specific misdiagnosis. Adenocarcinoma, or non-small cell lung cancer, is the most common type of lung cancer. This disease is rather nonaggressive. So, if the patient has a more aggressive kind of lung cancer, like mesothelioma, the prescribed treatment regimen might do little good.

Cancer survival rates have increased significantly since the 1990s. However, if the disease is not promptly diagnosed, many new treatments are ineffective, so the survival rate is still rather low.

Eventually, misdiagnosis touches almost everyone. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. We do not charge upfront legal fees in injury cases.

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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