Despite there being people in the health care field actively working to prevent mistakes, such as misdiagnosis, errors continue to occur. Errors occur for a variety of reasons. Physicians may see many patients in a row and feel rushed to see them quickly. Other physicians may simply be making mistakes or overlook an important aspect of a patient’s medical history. This may occur because of fragmented medical records. There is also a lack of individualization when it comes to medical procedures and tests. A physician may also jump to a conclusion too quickly and not consider all the possibilities that would lead to the right answer. It is very important that a thorough examination and accurate diagnosis be conducted because even the most minor error can be deadly for patients.
The physicians are not the only parties responsible for the prevalence of errors. Patients may also contribute to the problem. For instance they may fail to communicate symptoms, not mention their family disease history, or fail to provide complete information to their physician. Additionally, patients tend to assume that their physician knows all the answers about every disease, condition, or injury there is. Physicians are more accurate after receiving test results. However, diagnoses are often based on a combination of evidence and the physician’s ability, or are based solely on the physician’s ability.
A misdiagnosis can occur when:
- An illness or injury is given the wrong name.
- The patient is told that they are fine even though their symptoms suggest otherwise.
- The patient is told that there is a problem, even if there is no medical problem.
Misdiagnosis is prevented when the patient participates in the diagnosis. The patient can:
- After the physician gives the diagnosis ask whether it could be something else or why did they rule something out.
- When going to the appointment bring a short list of questions and speak up. Don’t let the physician rush.
- Call the physician to obtain lab test results. Don’t wait for the physician to make contact.
- Share all medical information / diagnosis / test results / mediations with all physicians you may be seeing. Additionally, encourage them to talk to each other regarding your treatment.
- Get a second opinion.
Patients who take these steps will have more control over their health. There is no guarantee of an error free diagnosis, but if a missed diagnosis results in a medical complication, contact an experienced Kingston, New York medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.
But what do you think? I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at [email protected] You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.