Sport is one of the major causes of accidents with just under the third of the UK recording an estimated 22 million sporting injuries per year according to Barclays Spaces for Sports. The majority of these injuries are due to our own mistakes including over-exertion, lack of preparation or even general clumsiness. However reports I have read in recent weeks suggest many injuries sustained by active sportsman are being misdiagnosed.
An article in the Daily Mail has revealed thousands of athletes are being wrongly diagnosed every year with shin splints, often leaving the victim in pain and without proper treatment.
Shin splints is a ‘catch-all’ diagnosis for lower leg pain triggered by endurance sports including football, running and dancing. However the condition actually covers thirty one different conditions which can often leave many sufferers without the required help they need.
Shockingly as many as one in six people in the UK believe they suffer from shin splints, many of whom have been wrongly diagnosed by a medical professional. As a result many sufferers are unable to exercise, remain in long-term pain and even immobile in some cases.
I am all too aware of the rising number of misdiagnosed patients who have suffered considerably as a result. Last year the NHS paid out a total of £98 million to patients whose conditions were misdiagnosed by medics in hospitals across England and Wales.
The number of successful misdiagnosis claims increased by nearly 80% since 2007, when there were 681 claims resulting in compensation totalling just under £50 million.
If a healthcare professional or member of medical staff misdiagnoses a patient then they are more entitled to claim compensation for the long-term damages caused as a result of clinical negligence. However researchers have now found search engines are now the first port of call for people with genuine health concerns.
A study by Balance Activ has found one in four British women now misdiagnose themselves on the internet. Self-medicating has led to a tenth of the countries women to endure unpleasant side effects as a result.
Most Googled symptoms:
The top five symptoms which women in the UK have attempted to diagnose themselves:
- Sleep problems
- Muscle pain
However any form of long-term effect or illness caused by a misdiagnosis online will not be compensated for. I recommend always seeking professional medical advice, not matter how embarrassing the condition may be.
Simon Thompson is Managing Director of Precision Claims, specialists in helping victims of misdiagnosis claim for compensation, as well as all other forms of clinical negligence. Visit the clinical negligence page here.