We go to doctors because they are the experts—they have the education and experience we lack when it comes to our health and the complex nature of the human body. But, doctors are human. They make mistakes. Missed and delayed diagnoses are just a few of the medical mistakes that could mean the difference between life and death for patients.
An estimated 5% of autopsies discover an undiagnosed condition that, if treated, may have saved the patient’s life.
No one knows your body like you, and when you and your doctor pool your knowledge, the risk of a missed or misdiagnosis is dramatically reduced. In other words, there are things you can do to help ensure your doctor gets the diagnosis right.
The most important aspect of correctly diagnosing a patient is communication. If you don’t tell your doctor the whole story, you can’t expect them to get a full picture. So, tell them everything. Tell them all of your symptoms, even those you don’t think are related. If your doctor seems too rushed to listen, find someone else who will.
Don’t diagnose yourself. You may have Google at your fingertips and you can tell your doctor what you’ve found. Doctors have years of education and experience to draw from. Focusing on one diagnosis doesn’t allow you to consider alternatives.
If something doesn’t seem right, ask questions and seek another opinion. Shocking test results, for instance, could be flawed. If you’ve never had issues with heart health or blood pressure and the nurse finds your blood pressure elevated, ask her to take it again. Remember, this is your health and your body. Also, you are the one paying them for their services.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of good doctor-patient chemistry. If you don’t feel comfortable with your doctor, you may not tell them everything or believe they have your best interests at heart. But, when you and your doctor are able to talk candidly and you feel like they care, the likelihood of them being truly vested in your diagnosis increases positive results.
When it comes right down to it, only the doctor has the medical degree. While you can do everything on your end to help reduce the risk of a wrong diagnosis, it’s ultimately their call.
Indiana Medical Malpractice Attorney
The medical malpractice attorney at the Law Office of Kelley J. Johnson understands how frustrating and damaging a delayed or missed diagnosis can be. If you are the victim of such a medical mistake, contact us today to discuss your legal options. We can be reached for a free consultation at 833-4MEDMAL.