It's a condition that's often mistaken for something else. Parents and doctors may think it's something like the flu or an eating disorder and misdiagnose it. If the mistake is not discovered, the patient could die. The condition in question is type 1 diabetes, and many times doctor error results in it being diagnosed as something else before it's recognized for what it is. By then, it's often too late.
There are two types of diabetes - type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is more rare less well-known between the two. It used to be known as juvenile diabetes, but it can show up at any time. People with it don't produce any insulin at all. Without insulin to turn the food eaten into something the body can use, a person's blood sugar levels climb. If they get too high, the person dies.
According to the organization formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation -- now known simply as JDRF -- about 3 million people in the U.S. are living with the disease. Leadership from this organization has cited lack of awareness as one of the primary causes of misdiagnosis.
The best way to avoid a misdiagnosis of the condition is to be informed. Knowing the symptoms common to type 1 diabetes and being aware of the fact that they are often mistaken for other things can go a long way to helping you get a correct diagnosis. Remembering that a person with it doesn't always look sick, at least not at the beginning, can also prove helpful.
Those who have suffered complications caused by a medical provider’s failure to diagnose Type 1 diabetes may wish to consult with an attorney knowledgeable in medical malpractice to understand their rights.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, "A Deadly Form of Diabetes That Doctors Sometimes Miss," Serena Gordon, June 19, 2013