Many people suffer from vague aches and pains on a daily basis. Generally, vague symptoms such as low energy, headaches, or changes in appetite come and go and are easily remedied by over the counter medications or vitamin supplements. When symptoms persist, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with our family doctor. While our health concerns may not always seem serious, they can be the manifestation of an underlying health concern. Unfortunately, simply going to the doctor is always enough. More and more doctors are either misdiagnosing or entirely missing serious symptoms in their patients. Medical misdiagnosis can result in otherwise treatable injuries and diseases growing to severe, and sometimes life threatening proportions. Here’s what you need to know about the occurrence of medical misdiagnosis, and what you can do to ensure you get the proper treatment from healthcare providers.
Missing the Symptoms
Studies indicate that as many as 1 in 20 Americans may suffer from physical repercussions caused by having medical conditions misdiagnosed. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a recent study found that while some diagnosis errors centered on common illnesses, such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia, a substantial amount concerned life threatening diseases such as cancer, renal failure, and congestive heart failure. Diagnostic errors typically center on missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnosis of symptoms. The most common reasons for medical misdiagnosis include:
- Poor doctor/patient communications;
- Mistakes in taking medical histories or adding notations to the patient file;
- Failure in properly reviewing the patient file;
- Inadequate physician examination of the patient;
- Failure to recognize symptoms;
- Failure to order additional tests or diagnostics; and
- Lack of follow up care.
Failure in providing adequate care to patients in order to correctly diagnose their illnesses and diseases amounts to medical negligence, punishable under Section 766.203 of the Florida State Statutes.
Getting the Appropriate Medical Care
Medical misdiagnosis has become one of the top-rated factors in the majority of medical malpractice claims today. Healthcare costs associated with missed or wrong diagnosis end up costing billions of dollars. To help ensure you get the appropriate care and treatment from your medical provider, the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) recommends taking an active role in working with your doctor when you do have symptoms or if something doesn’t feel right. Doctors and nurses need to be held accountable for doing their part in reaching a correct diagnosis, and should be asking the appropriate questions, doing a thorough physical exam, and ordering the proper tests. At the same time, there are a number of ways patients can manage their medical care to ensure they receive the correct treatment and diagnosis. These include:
- Be clear, complete, and accurate when describing your symptoms;
- Look at the big picture, in terms of how your symptoms have progressed over time;
- Keep good medical records of past treatments and medications;
- Manage your care by informing your physician of any other medical opinions or treatment you’ve received;
- Know your tests results; and
- Don’t neglect follow up visits.
Contact an Experienced Florida Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you or someone you know has suffered harm due to a medical misdiagnosis, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice lawyers today. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, we understand the serious ramifications that can result from medical errors. Our experienced lawyers will fight for your rights, and help you get the damages you need to recover. Serving the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, our lawyers and staff will provide the comprehensive legal service you deserve. Call us at (772) 595-6654 for a free consultation today.