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Diagnostic errors prove deadly for thousands

Tuesday - 5/7/2013, 10:42am  ET

WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of people die each year, even though they're going to the doctor. The problem comes from a simple misdiagnosis.

According to Prevention, the most common mistakes are missing or incorrectly diagnosing heart-related events like aneurysms, strokes and heart attacks as well as infections like meningitis and errors involving cancer diagnoses.

In a 25-year analysis of 350,000 malpractice suits by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it was found that diagnostic errors are common and deadly.

Taking charge of your individual health may be an important part of combating these mistakes.

Bringing a summary to your appointments that includes your exact symptoms can help, says Prevention. The magazine also advises asking your doctor what else it could be once you're diagnosed, and why your doctor is certain of his or her diagnosis.

Asking about treatment, what to expect and what warning signs to watch for are also important questions. Don't rely on blind faith.

WTOP's Veronica Robinson contributed to this report.

Follow @VRobWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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