When physicians misdiagnose patients or fail to provide a diagnosis altogether, people may end up with serious injuries and complications.
Whether people are going into their physicians’ office for a routine wellness visit or because they are experiencing symptoms of an unknown illness, they rely on medical professionals to expertly diagnose their condition or give them a clean bill of health. Sadly, studies show that some doctors’ educated opinions and diagnoses may not be accurate, which could lead to significant problems for patients in Oklahoma and across the U.S. Medical misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose patients is a major form of medical malpractice in the country, and has had numerous adverse effects for the victims of physician negligence.
A study conducted by a patient safety expert and published in BMJ Quality and Safety reported that more than 20 people a day are affected by physician misdiagnosis. This calculates out to be more than 12 million people a year. Researchers believe this number to be low, since there are countless cases that go unreported or undetected altogether. At least half of those cases have the potential to cause patient harm.
How does misdiagnosis occur?
There are several factors that may prompt a physician to make a mistake when diagnosing a patient, according to the New York Post. Miscommunication between medical professionals or between the physician and the patient is one of the most common contributors to medical negligence. Many facilities have guidelines in place to help doctors avoid these types of oversights. Physicians who don’t spend enough time with each patient are also more likely to make diagnostic errors. Some doctors are rushed to see a large number of patients in a short period of time, and they may be forced to rush through the evaluation process. When doctors are not able to review the patient’s full medical history or when doctors are not given a complete medical history, it may be easier for them to overlook a critical detail regarding the patient’s health.
Living with the consequences of misdiagnosis
When a patient is misdiagnosed or is not diagnosed with a condition, there is a potential that the condition could get progressively worse. If the patient does not seek a second opinion and the condition is not caught, it could become life-threatening. Misdiagnosing a patient could also cause a patient to undergo medical procedures and/or surgeries that they would not otherwise need. In addition to added medical expenses, insurance costs and time spent off of work, the patient is made to endure unnecessary pain and trauma.
Getting legal assistance
If you suffer from a condition that was undiagnosed or if you were diagnosed with the wrong condition altogether, you may want to seek legal help from an attorney in Oklahoma. A medical malpractice attorney may be able to answer your legal questions and point you in the right direction when it comes to seeking compensation for your injuries.