Standing Up For You

Medical misdiagnosis: What you should know?

People in Kentucky and across the United States rely on medical professionals to give them accurate diagnoses and provide a treatment plan to help them get better. What happens, however, if you leave the doctor’s office with the wrong diagnosis? 

Medical errors affect more than 12 million people a year in outpatient clinics and emergency room settings, according to a study published in BMJ Quality & Safety. In at least half of those cases, people suffered significant harm from the mistake. 

How do medical errors occur?

There are a number of ways in which medical misdiagnosis can occur, including the following: 

  • Miscommunication between doctors and patients 
  • Failure to get or to provide a complete medical history 
  • Failure to order the proper diagnostic tests 
  • Failure to interpret test results correctly 

Many doctors in these settings rush through their patients without taking the time to really listen to the patient or to form an accurate understanding of the issue. Doctors in these settings do not see the same patients regularly, which can also affect their ability to form a relationship with the patient and know their full medical history. Doctors are at the mercy of what the patient chooses to tell them. 

What are the effects of misdiagnosis?

Medical misdiagnosis delays the time you have to be treated for the actual ailment you are experiencing. For example, if you have lung cancer and are misdiagnosed with pneumonia, the cancer may worsen in the time you are being treated for the wrong condition. 

Furthermore, some patients were not diagnosed with a condition at all. In the meantime, people suffer from a condition that they may have received treatment for if they had been given a proper diagnosis. 

Not only do patients suffer from an undiagnosed condition, but medical misdiagnosis takes a toll on medical costs as well.