Women at Greater Risk for Medical Malpractice Due to Misdiagnosis
Early detection is key to treating any number of serious chronic health issues and medical conditions. Unfortunately, cases involving medical misdiagnosis are common and a leading factor in medical malpractice claims. Women in general are more at risk of having their symptoms dismissed or attributed to other factors. The following highlights the potential dangers and what to do if a missed diagnosis occurs.
Medical Misdiagnosis Among Women
According to a 2018 report by WebMD, women need to be especially vigilant when visiting their doctors as they are more likely than men to have potentially serious medical symptoms be ignored or dismissed. Delayed and missed diagnosis are common with a variety of serious and potentially life threatening conditions, such as endometriosis, autoimmune diseases, stroke, heart disease, and cancer.
In terms of heart disease alone, women have a more than 50 percent chance of getting an incorrect initial diagnosis than men, leading to dangerous delays in treatment. The following are among the most common reasons attributed for the disparity:
- Different symptoms: With many conditions, women often do not exhibit the same symptoms as men, which doctors are more accustomed to treating.
- Limited research: Traditionally, women’s health conditions and their symptoms are not as well researched as those involving men.
- Perception: Women’s health complaints are often dismissed and attributed as ‘overreacting’ or being ‘all in their head’.
Holding Doctors Accountable
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) states that it is important for all patients to be aware of the time limits doctors face during appointments and to act as their own patient advocate. Particularly for women, this means asking questions and insisting that all symptoms or medical complaints are dealt with during a visit. Communication is key in getting a proper diagnosis and in seeking treatment. Questions to ask your doctor include:
- What are the possible causes of my symptoms?
- What tests can be done to determine a diagnosis?
- Is there medication I should be taking or lifestyle changes I should make?
- What are the treatment options available?
- What is the prognosis for my long term care?
Write down the answers to your questions and bring someone with you to appointments to act as a second set of eyes and ears. Keep all paperwork and pamphlets your doctor provides, while following all instructions for follow up care. If you have doubts about a diagnosis or the lack of one, do not hesitate to get a second opinion.
Let Us Help You Today
If you suspect a medical misdiagnosis involving you or a loved one, reach out to the Law Firm of William E. Raikes, III for help. We understand the serious consequences you could be facing as the result of your doctor’s mistakes or errors. You may be entitled to compensation for the damages you and your loved ones suffer as the result. To request a consultation to discuss your particular case, reach out and contact our Fort Pierce medical malpractice attorney today.