Instances of medical malpractice in West Virginia are more common that you think. Some estimates indicate that one out of every 20 Americans is the victim of misdiagnosis. Some conditions are more dangerous than others, sometimes even resulting in death. Medical malpractice cases can be warranted if the victim’s quality of life is severely affected or when death occurs due to negligence.

Six conditions are commonly misdiagnosed by doctors. These are cancer, celiac disease, stroke, heart attack, lupus and pulmonary embolism. Cancers are among the most common misdiagnoses with some types missed in as many as 44% of cases. Physicians often miss cancers because they don’t have enough information or have an incomplete patient medical history.

Cardiovascular problems are also high on the list. The signs of heart attacks, strokes and pulmonary embolism can be confused with other diseases, especially if the patient is female or doesn’t have any risk factors. Heart attacks are sometimes dismissed as gastritis, bronchitis or even anxiety while strokes can be mistaken for an ear infection or a migraine. Pulmonary embolism, involving a blood clot in the lung, is frequently mistaken for a coronary or anxiety.

Celiac disease and lupus, two autoimmune diseases, are also high on the list. Bloating and flatulence, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, leg cramps and vomiting are signs of celiac disease. Lupus produces a variety of abnormalities and is sometimes misdiagnosed as rheumatoid arthritis. Only a blood test can confirm the diagnosis.

Misdiagnosis could result in a medical malpractice claim when it leads to improper medical care. If you are misdiagnosed and your condition continues to worsen, the situation may qualify as malpractice. To prove medical malpractice, you must show that a patient-doctor relationship existed and that your conditioned worsened as a result of the doctor’s action or inaction.