The Law Offices of Charles Dunn
Lubbock County Medical Malpractice Attorney
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The misdiagnosis of rare diseases

While certain rare diseases may have relatively few sufferers, they can have an enormous impact on global health when considered as a whole. According to the World Health Organization, around 400 million people suffer from a rare disease. In Texas, a person may be considered to have a rare disease if fewer than 200,000 people throughout the country also have it.

Research into many rare diseases is underfunded. Treatments do not exist for most rare diseases, and for others, a diagnosis generally comes so late that treatment is often ineffective. In some cases, such as with gallbladder cancer, the disease is not detected until its late stages because it tends to be asymptomatic. In other cases, the disease is mistaken for something else because its symptoms are similar to a wide variety of less serious diseases. This is the case with the rare form of cancer known as mesothelioma. Only around 3,000 people are diagnosed with it each year in the United States, and its symptoms are often mistaken for pneumonia or a common cold.

One study surveyed 6,000 people who had rare diseases and found that it took between five and 30 years for 25 percent of them to get a diagnosis. Talking to a doctor about any unusual symptoms may increase the likelihood that a rare disease will be diagnosed.

Unfortunately, both rare and common diseases are sometimes misdiagnosed by doctors, and the result can be devastating for a patient's health. If a patient or a family member believes the failure to diagnose the disease is the result of medical malpractice, they might want to seek compensation from the health care practitioner or facility. People who have been harmed in such a manner might want to discuss their situation with an experienced attorney.

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