Cases involving the misdiagnosis of a medical condition usually occur when a medical professional arrives at a wrong diagnosis of a harmful medical condition. In many cases, the misdiagnosis can be attributable to a doctor. A misdiagnosis can lead to life-threatening consequences and have a significantly negative effect on a patient’s life.
Medical professionals have a huge responsibility, and a minor mistake can have serious consequences. A patient may have to struggle with lifelong medical issues because of a doctor’s minor mistake. Below, we will learn more about what happens when a doctor makes a misdiagnosis, common reasons for a misdiagnosis, and the medical conditions that are most commonly misdiagnosed.
What is a misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis can be a dangerous type of medical negligence, in which the doctor is usually at fault. It could either result from a wrong diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, which may cause the patient’s health to needlessly deteriorate. Additionally, a misdiagnosis may mean that it could take extra time and effort to treat the condition. In some situations, a misdiagnosis can even lead to wrongful death.
What are the top causes of a wrong diagnosis?
Misdiagnosis can occur for several reasons. Here are some of the most common situations that may give rise to a medical misdiagnosis.
- Fragmentation of healthcare
Fragmentation of healthcare generally means that a patient may visit different specialists for different needs. Instead of going to one physician for comprehensive care, individuals will seek assistance from other specialists for various medical issues and treatment.
It may result in multiple points of medical care, and every doctor may suggest different treatments. Often, patients have to undergo multiple diagnostic tests, and not all of the patient’s doctors may have access to the results. There is a higher chance of diagnostic errors when multiple medical professionals are involved in a noncohesive treatment plan.
- Inexperienced medical professionals
In some instances, healthcare professionals do not have much experience and are not equipped with proper knowledge. This inexperience can lead to a wrong diagnosis and can negatively affect the patient’s health. An inexperienced medical professional may be at fault if they:
- Fail to recognize the symptoms of medical conditions.
- Do not consult a more experienced doctor at the right time.
- Are unable to properly read the results of a diagnostic report.
A healthcare professional should not be overconfident when a patient’s life is on the line. If a doctor is not equipped to properly diagnose a condition, they must inform the patient or refer them to a specialist. Misdiagnosis often occurs when healthcare professionals attempt to hide their faults or diagnostic shortcomings. You may be able to file a malpractice lawsuit in such a situation.
- Lack of diagnostic test
To diagnose certain conditions, more than one diagnostic test may be required to get an accurate picture of an individual’s health. When healthcare professionals fail to suggest the appropriate test, they may be putting an individual’s life at risk. A failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests can lead to a lack of understanding of the symptoms. It is a serious situation and can be dangerous for patients’ health.
- Lack of time
At times, both medical professionals and patients are in a hurry. It is essential to understand that a physical examination cannot be properly conducted if it is rushed. In some cases, a hurried appointment can lead to critical consequences. Both the medical specialist and the patient should sit together and discuss the health concern in detail. A healthcare service provider should conduct a comprehensive check-up to examine the patient’s health properly.
- Lack of follow-up
There are instances when patients do not see the same healthcare provider for every stage of their health care. There can be several reasons for that switch. At times, patients are not satisfied with the results, and sometimes the doctor may refer the patients to other specialists.
As a result, patients may have to bear the adverse effects of lack of follow-up. If a medical professional fails to provide proper treatment, patients may choose to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What are the most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions?
A misdiagnosis can lead to wrong or delayed treatment. When patients are not treated in a timely fashion, they may be at higher chances of negative health outcomes. The following are some of the conditions that are often misdiagnosed. The symptoms can be mistaken for those of other critical conditions, which may harm the health of an individual.
- Stroke: In some cases, a stroke may be mistaken for other conditions, such as a migraine or epileptic seizures.
- Irritable bowel syndrome: The symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or IBS with diarrhea can be mistaken for other health conditions, such as drug toxicity, ovarian cancer, malabsorption, or infections.
- Multiple sclerosis: The wrong diagnostic test may prevent doctors from determining the true condition, which can be very serious for the patient.
- Depression: This is a critical mental health condition that can affect an individual’s mood and trigger anxiety.
- Lyme disease: One of the most common symptoms of Lyme disease is a bulls-eye rash, in addition to pain and fever. However, many individuals do not develop the typical symptoms, and a doctor may fail to identify the correct condition.
These are some of the common conditions that are often misdiagnosed because of similar symptoms. Continue reading to understand how you can reduce the risks of a wrong diagnosis.
How can I prevent a misdiagnosis?
- Be honest and open in your communication with healthcare professionals: A typical doctor sees many patients in a day. Therefore, you should begin each appointment with proper communication and ask all the necessary questions. Be open about all your health problems and take a direct approach with the physician.
- Maintain proper medical records: Keep an accurate history and documentation of your symptoms and medications to help your doctors determine which treatment may be best for you.
- See a specialist: You should see a doctor who focuses their practice on your specific concern. For instance, you should visit a dermatologist for a skin concern.
If a doctor has misdiagnosed you, you have the right to consult a Philadelphia medical malpractice attorney to learn how you can hold your doctor responsible for their negligence. Your lawyer can help you handle the situation in an effective way. Working with a legal professional can allow you to concentrate on the healing process without worrying about the legal procedure.