After going to see a doctor to examine symptoms, if an incorrect diagnosis is given or a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition, patients may suffer serious harm or injury. This can be dangerous if the condition is serious and the incorrect diagnosis prevents a patient from receiving necessary treatment. A misdiagnosis can also cause an illness or disease get progressively worse, or lead to unnecessary surgeries, invasive procedures, and more.
Without advanced medical knowledge, patients may wonder if there is anything that can be done to avoid becoming the victim of a misdiagnosis. The following tips are some ways that risk of misdiagnosis may be reduced.
5 Tips for Reducing the Risk of a Misdiagnosis
The first tip to reduce the risk of misdiagnosis is to keep track of all medical care that has been done. Information should include a list of examinations, tests, X-rays, referrals to specialists and anything else that is relevant. Patients also have the right to get a copy of their medical records.
The second tip is to know your family’s medical history. Talk with parents, siblings and others to learn of health conditions that family members have dealt with. All of that information should then be shared with the doctor.
Third, write down all of the symptoms being experienced. Indicate levels of pain, changes, and if there are certain things that exacerbate symptoms. Many times a patient will go in to see the doctor and forget or fail to mention important details. Having specifics written down can help ensure important information is communicated.
A fourth way patients can protect themselves from a misdiagnosis is to get a second opinion from another physician. Before immediately undergoing an invasive surgery, other procedure or taking a medication, discuss the condition and possible treatments with another doctor.
Finally, ask questions. If the doctor provides a diagnosis, ask how he or she arrived at that diagnosis. Inquire about seeing a specialist. Ask if it’s possible that the symptoms mimic another condition that would require other forms of treatment.
Patients are oftentimes concerned about questioning a doctor’s knowledge. But the reality is that mistakes in diagnoses happen, which can result in serious consequences. If this is the case, patients may consult an attorney about filing a claim for malpractice.