Misdiagnosis: The Biggest Mistake Doctors Make

It’s hard to think that a doctor could make a mistake. After all, doctors go through years of training to get to where they are. However, the reality is that doctors are human, and they do mistakes. And in some cases those mistakes are huge.

doctor mistake lawyerIn fact, the biggest mistake that doctors make, according to The Wall Street Journal, is misdiagnosis. It’s scary to think that a misdiagnosis could cause permanent damage, or even death, but the reality is that as many as 160,000 patients a year are significantly affected by these types of mistakes.

Preventing Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis comes in a number of forms. Perhaps lab results are misplaced. In some cases, a rushed doctor might miss a crucial sign to help with a diagnosis. Sometimes, the symptoms of one health problem might look similar to the symptoms of another — and a doctor might get it wrong. While a misdiagnosis doesn’t always mean that some sort of preventable mistake was made, it largely does indicate that something inadequate to the situation was done.

These types of errors account for about 35 percent of malpractice claim payouts in the United States, and they are also the most preventable types of mistakes. The article points out that there are solutions to the problem. Some of these solutions include:

  • Using computers. Technology makes it possible for doctors to catch mistakes. Reminders can be programmed for doctors to follow up on results and red flags. Additionally, there are programs that look through medical records and find those red flags. On top of that, better apps allow doctors faster access to information.

  • New devices and tests: Medical technology continues to advance, providing the latest devices and tests that can accurately and efficiently identify different diseases and conditions.

  • Culture of medicine: Perhaps the best change, though, is that to the very culture of health care. In the past, doctors have been almost arrogant about their abilities, tenaciously clinging to their own theories and diagnoses, even in the face of changing information. Now, doctors are being taught to be open-minded about the situation. The idea that doctors could be willing to try something else quickly could save lives.

It’s also up to you to be a good consumer of health care. Ask questions about the diagnosis and treatment, and about the tests performed. Ask the right questions about the care you or your loved one is being given, and it can prompt the doctor to take a closer look.

Watch Out for Malpractice

While misdiagnosis isn’t always grounds for a malpractice lawsuit, it is one of the leading reasons for these types of payouts. Misdiagnosis, when it is the result of overly-quick visits, and incomplete testing, can be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.

It’s important that you remain alert for the signs of misdiagnosis and malpractice. While you might be reluctant to question your health care provider, it’s important to speak up — especially if the condition is getting worse, or if the results are unexpected. Just letting it go, with no questions asked, is one of the biggest reasons that people end up damaged or dead due to misdiagnosis.

If you see something wrong, do a little research on your own. What types of tests are normal for the most likely diagnosis? What can you expect in terms of recovery after a specific treatment? Ask these questions of your doctor, and find them out on your own as well. The more informed you are, the more likely you are to help prevent a situation of misdiagnosis.

Also, you should consult a good personal injury attorney if you are concerned that a misdiagnosis has prolonged a condition, or resulted in a very bad outcome. A lawyer specializing in personal injury can help you identify the likelihood of misdiagnosis, and can help you get the compensation you deserve for such a situation. If you have been damaged, or if a loved one has died because of malpractice, you deserve justice. Consulting with a personal injury attorney early on in the process can help you get it resolved as soon as possible.

Bighorn Staff

About Bighorn Staff