The Medical Misdiagnosis Crisis and You
Doctors have a great deal of training and cutting-edge diagnostic tools, so there is little excuse for misdiagnosis. Yet roughly 20 percent of chronic illness cases are misdiagnosed. Some patients are diagnosed with serious conditions they do not have, while others are seriously ill and do not know it.
Because of their training, doctors have a very high duty of care in these situations. So, if they misdiagnose a condition, a Tampa medical malpractice attorney may be able to obtain substantial compensation. Perhaps more importantly, an attorney shines the light of justice on the misdiagnosis, so future patients need not endure the same pain and suffering.
What Causes Medical Misdiagnosis?
Economic factors are largely responsible for the misdiagnosis crisis. Doctors are supposed to put aside all thoughts of making money and only focus on what’s best for their patients, but many doctors do not take this responsibility as seriously as they should.
Because they try to see as many patients as possible, many doctors listen to their patients for only about ten seconds before they interrupt them. During such brief interaction, it’s impossible to learn anything meaningful about the patient’s symptoms. Furthermore, many doctors do not research conditions or consult with colleagues during their breaks. They simply go to the next patient.
This kind of miscommunication may occur in the office as well. Once again, economic factors may be to blame. When doctors run diagnostic tests, they often over-rely on nurses or even laboratory technicians to interpret the results. These professionals are well-qualified in many areas, but interpreting test data is often not one of them. The doctor is ultimately responsible for anything that gets missed or anything which gets lost in translation.
What Are Some Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions?
Because of this environment, misdiagnosis can happen to any patient at any time. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are:
- Cancer: For various reasons, the cancer misdiagnosis rate may be twice as high as the aforementioned general misdiagnosis rate. For example, many lung cancer patients have rather vague symptoms, such as trouble breathing. If the patient has no serious lifestyle or family history risks, many doctors are quick to say the patient has bronchitis or some other rather mild condition.
- Depression: There is a difference between situational depression and clinical depression. Many people get “the blues” for various reasons, and these feelings usually pass. But a chemical imbalance causes clinical depression. This mental illness always gets worse instead of better.
- Heart Attack: Many doctors consider cardiovascular disease to be an age-related condition. They hardly ever diagnose young patients with heart attacks. On a related note, some patients do not experience signature heart attack symptoms, like chest pains.
Other commonly misdiagnosed conditions include head injuries and fibromyalgia. Once again, these conditions have rather general symptoms. So, many doctors do not properly identify them, largely because they lack the proper diagnostic information.
Contact Tenacious Lawyers
Medical misdiagnosis affects many families in the area. For a free consultation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Tampa, contact The Matassini Law Firm. We routinely handle matters in Hillsborough County and nearby jurisdictions.