When you seek medical treatment, you assume that your doctor will do whatever it takes to provide you with a high level of care. You put your trust in this person and hope that they’ll take care of you to the best of their ability.

Unfortunately, it’s not out of the question for your doctor to misdiagnose a condition. If this happens, the risk of serious injury, illness or death is very real.

Here are three conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed:

  • Heart attack: This one is missed time after time, as it shares symptoms with other less serious conditions such as indigestion.
  • Cancer: Any type of cancer requires immediate medical attention, as the longer you wait to receive treatment, the greater chance there is that it will advance to other parts of your body. Some types of cancers are more commonly misdiagnosed than others, such as colorectal, lung and breast.
  • Pulmonary embolism: This is when a blood clot reaches or forms in the lungs. It shares symptoms with other conditions, such as pneumonia, a chest cold and asthma. If left undiagnosed, a pulmonary embolism can result in a more serious illness or even death.

Even if you keep a close eye on your medical team, it’s still possible for a mistake to occur at some point. If this happens, learn more about what went wrong and implement a plan of attack for the future.

Once your health is stable, you can then learn why your doctor misdiagnosed your condition and the steps you can take to hold them responsible for their negligence.