People in West Virginia who have heart conditions, serious infections or cancer might have a higher likelihood of being misdiagnosed than people with some other conditions. A study by the data analytics firm CRICO Strategies and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore examined medical literature and found that around 10% of patients who had symptoms of these conditions were misdiagnosed.

Reasons for misdiagnoses vary. For example, strokes may be misdiagnosed when they do not present with the usual symptoms of paralysis and slurred speech. While the overall percentage misdiagnosis of strokes is on the lower end because strokes are so common, this translates into a large number of people. Rarer conditions are more likely to be misdiagnosed, and there could also be a larger possibility of harm as a result of misdiagnosis. For example, of the 2% of patients with heart attacks who are misdiagnosed, only 1% suffer harm as a result. In contrast, 36.5% of people who suffer from the rare infection known as spinal abscess suffer harm as a result of misdiagnosis.

Poor screening and inadequate treatment could be responsible for many cancer misdiagnoses. For example, lung cancer is not adequately screened, and a delay can lead to a poorer prognosis. However, a delay of several months in identifying colorectal cancer may not be significant.

Individuals who have suffered harm as a result of a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose may want to contact an attorney to discuss the situation. Determining whether a misdiagnosis constitutes malpractice means taking into account whether the individual would have received similar treatment from most medical professionals. A case of medical malpractice might be settled out of court if a patient accepts the offer, or the case may go to court. Compensation might pay for medical expenses and other costs.