For people in Boston and across the nation, a medical issue that is enough of a concern to visit a doctor is bad enough without having to think about the possibility of a failure to diagnose what's really wrong. But this is a growing problem in the U.S. that is affecting scores of people and families. The relief that a person feels when the diagnosis given is such that it's not as serious as the worst case scenario can be rapidly punctured when the symptoms don't subside and it's discovered that there was a failure to diagnose a serious illness. This can lead to delayed treatment, a worsened condition and even death.
A study has shown that at least 12 million Americans are subject to misdiagnosis each year. To put that into context, out of 20 people who seek treatment for various ailments, one will be misdiagnosed. These errors can be for a variety of reasons from a negligent physician to misreading the records to a simple mistake. The consequences can be minor or catastrophic.