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Getting a Second Opinion May Help to Prevent Against Misdiagnosis


If you are suffering from an illness, getting a second opinion may help to ensure that you are properly diagnosed. In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice found that more than 20 percent of patients who sought a second opinion had been misdiagnosed by the primary care provider.

The Study: Misdiagnosis a Serious Problem

As reported on by, the results of the study were concerning. Researchers looked at the medical cases of 286 patients, most of whom were younger than 64 years of age and female. It should be noted that the cases may not be perfectly representational of the general public, as these were all patients whose conditions were serious enough that they needed to seek a second opinion from specialists.

That being said, in 21 percent of the cases, the patients received a diagnosis from the specialist that was “distinctly different” from the primary diagnosis they had been given. In 12 percent of cases, the primary care doctor and the specialist were in agreement, and the patient was given the same diagnosis. In a whopping 77 percent of cases, researchers found that the initial diagnosis was partially correct, but that seeing a specialist led to refinement of the diagnosis.

The Dangers of Misdiagnosis

Diagnostic errors are a serious concern for patients. In fact, some data suggests that diagnostic errors are involved in up to 17 percent of all adverse patient events in hospitals. What’s more, the Institute of Medicine has reported that most Americans who go to the doctor will receive an incorrect diagnosis at least once in their life.

The idea that an incorrect diagnosis could have a profoundly negative effect on a patient’s outcome makes sense – when a patient’s condition is not properly diagnosed, the treatment that they need for their specific condition may be severely delayed, leading to a tragic outcome.

Getting a Second Medical Opinion

When you are suffering from symptoms that may be indicative of a serious health condition, you should see your primary care doctor and seek diagnosis. However, no matter how much you trust your physician, getting a second opinion from another doctor or specialist is a smart thing to do. When you get a second medical opinion, you can be confident that your condition has been correctly diagnosed, and improve your chances of getting the right medical treatment for your illness.

When Misdiagnosis Leads to Harm

If you have been misdiagnosed, leading to a decline in your health or serious adverse events, you have the right to seek justice. Depending upon the cause of misdiagnosis, misdiagnosis may be indicative of medical malpractice. If malpractice has occurred, our lawyers at the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. can aid you in seeking compensation for the value of your losses, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.

If you are a victim of misdiagnosis and medical malpractice, do not hesitate to contact our law firm. Reach us today online or by phone to schedule your free consultation.


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