Top Three Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions by Alaska Health Care Providers


Physicians attend several years of medical school and countless hours of on-the-job training as residents, but the nature of medicine leaves some room for diagnosis errors. Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine estimate that around 100,000 individuals die or suffer serious bodily harm because of diagnostic mistakes, including delays, the wrong diagnosis, and failure to diagnose. In the same study, it was revealed that misdiagnosis is the most common type of medical error.

A closer review of the data also reveals that there are certain medical conditions that are more likely to be misdiagnosed than others. While any diagnosis error can lead to severe outcomes and astronomical medical costs, mistakes identifying the “Big Three” ailments make up almost 75% of all misdiagnosis claims. You should discuss your legal options with anAlaska medical malpractice lawyer if you were affected by negligence in diagnosing:



Mistakes with diagnosing cancer rank top among the top, and errors detecting cancer are associated with 37.8% of all diagnostic errors. Lung cancer is the most common form that is misdiagnosed, and this form makes up approximately one-quarter of all cancer fatalities – more than more than colon, breast, and prostate cancers combined.

False positive diagnosis of cancer can be just as devastating as the failure to detect or a delayed diagnosis. The patient will often undergo radiation, chemotherapy, surgery, and other harsh treatment that is unnecessary. Meanwhile, the underlying medical condition remains untreated.


Vascular Events 

The most frequently misdiagnosed medical condition in this category is stroke, comprising 22.8% of all diagnostic errors that cause death or injuries. A prompt, proper diagnosis is crucial for:

  • Ischemic stroke, where blood flow to the brain is blocked by a clot; and,
  • Hemorrhagic stroke, in which a blood vessel in the brain bursts and leaks blood.

Brain cells die with every moment that they are denied oxygen, and treatment for stroke cannot begin until health care providers make a proper diagnosis. Plus, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the gold standard for treating ischemic stroke, can only be administered within a maximum of four hours after the event.



In up to 13% of all diagnostic errors causing fatalities or injuries, the source is health care acquired infection. Physicians often misdiagnose an extreme, life-threatening form called sepsis. When it progresses and leads to septic shock, this infection can cause organ failure, tissue damage, and death. These consequences can easily be avoided when health care providers monitor patients for fever, chills, high heart rate, and low blood pressure.


Our Anchorage, AK Medical Malpractice Attorneys Will Assist With Your Claim

 Whether you suffered harm from one of the Big Three misdiagnosed medical conditions or another diagnostic error, Alaska medical malpractice laws provide you with legal remedies. For more information on recovering compensation for your medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses, please contact Power & Power Law. You can call 907-222-9990 or contact us to schedule a free telephone consultation with our office in Anchorage, Alaska. After reviewing your case, our lawyers can advise you on the legal process.