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Mystery ailments: Some diseases are hard to diagnose

Missing or getting the wrong diagnosis is a problem for patients. When patients go longer without the treatments they need, there is a real risk that they could end up with serious or fatal injuries.

Many diseases are hard to diagnose, though, so how much of the late diagnosis really falls on a doctor's shoulders? It depends. If you've complained over and over about an issue but your bloodwork was accurate and didn't suggest a disease, the doctor might not be liable. On the other hand, if the bloodwork or tests were inaccurate, there's a good chance you could win a case for malpractice.

Many diseases start out as "mystery ailments." You might notice being thirstier than usual or begin to struggle with chronic pain. When symptoms aren't specific, it's hard for your doctor to narrow them down. Do your part to reduce the number of diseases the doctor has to consider by listing everything from headaches to changes in the color of your urine.

If you're not convinced with a diagnosis because of things you've read online, keep in mind that not every patient presents in the same way. One person with diabetes, for example, might be very thirsty and skinny. Another could be overweight and have few symptoms other than being a little tired.

No matter what the situation is, a good doctor does as many tests as he or she needs to narrow down the possible conditions. It's a good idea for patients to ask for a second opinion along the way, too, since two sets of eyes could help both doctors realize that there's something they're missing sooner.

Source:, "15 Diseases Doctors Often Get Wrong," Amanda Macmillan, accessed Feb. 28, 2018

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