Most Americans will receive some sort of wrong diagnosis at least once in their life, according to a report issued by the Institute of Medicine. While not all cases of misdiagnosis lead to serious injury or death, there are still an alarming number of cases that do. Diagnostic errors can have a significant impact on a patient’s life, especially if that error is connected to a critical illness or a life-threatening condition.
Also, a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can become worse, thanks to the complexity of today’s healthcare system. It isn’t easy for doctors and researchers to gather information about medical errors – and not all hospitals or physicians are forthcoming with such data. Errors involving misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are found well after the fact – sometimes, those errors occur because of the healthcare system itself, so it is not just one physician at-fault.
What Can Be Done to Stop the Rate of Misdiagnosis in the Country?
Sometimes, a medical error is just that: An error. Other times, a physician’s gross negligence and oversight leads to the error. Determining who is to blame is a complex process; sometimes, multiple parties can be found liable for a missed or delayed diagnosis.
One of the biggest causes of misdiagnosis is communication between the patient and physician. Patients can be proactive in their care, and possibly reduce the likelihood that they will experience a medical error in their lifetime, just by:
- Planning ahead of time for referral appointments. If you have been referred to a specialist, gather all relevant medical information so that your specialist is fully informed. Do not rely on your physician’s office to forward the necessary information. Instead, gather blood work, diagnostic tests and scans, and a copy of your medical record to bring along with you for the appointment.
- Write down your symptoms. Instead of trying to recall everything that you have been experiencing, make a point to write down each symptom you have, how often it flairs, and what you are doing when it happens. This can help your physician better pinpoint the cause of your problems.
- Know your history. Go through the family tree and see what medical history may be applicable to your situation. Write it all down and inform your physician. Typically, they will want to know about conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer among your immediate family members.
- Bring in prescriptions or a detailed list of what you are taking. You will need to write down every prescription that you take, including over-the-counter medications and supplements. Write down how often you take it, the dosage, and if it was prescribed (and by whom). This can prevent a physician from accidentally prescribing medications that interact with one another.
Are You the Victim of a Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis?
If your condition was misdiagnosed or delayed to the point that it caused you significant harm or pain and suffering, you may be entitled to compensation. You will need to have your case evaluated by a medical malpractice attorney first. Contact Berkowitz and Hanna LLC today to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. Call 866-479-7909 or contact us online to get started.