“Doctor, Why Aren’t You Listening To Me?”
If you go to your doctor’s office for a regular checkup or the hospital for an emergency visit, you might have expected individualized attention and time with your doctor to discuss any problems that you had. However, due to time constraints on the physicians part, many patients leave feeling unheard and rushed. There has been a significant decline of medical doctors going into primary care areas, and out of the 25 percent of new doctors that do choose primary care, even less practice in urban or rural areas. This decline has caused a shortage of primary care physicians for the general population, which has resulted in limited time and interaction between the physician and their patients.
Although this directly affects the physician-patient relationship, it also can affect diagnostic tests which may result in misdiagnosis. Since there are many ailments that have similar symptoms. It’s not uncommon to get a misdiagnosis or late diagnosis for a serious condition. Especially when too many patients are hustled in and out of their physician’s office with cursory tests and forms, that do not take into account the specific individual sitting in front of them. Relaying to your physician your complaints — from chest pains to dizziness to migraines — only to have them noted as stress, inner-ear problems or allergies, can leave you in a vulnerable position.
The time you have with your physician is important especially if you have waited weeks to even get an appointment. In the couple of minutes that you do have, you may feel rushed to describe every symptom you have or you may easily forget to mention something that is critical for their diagnosis. You went to the doctor because something was wrong, and it’s important for you to have time with your doctor so that you can be treated properly. The limited time you have with your doctor may easily cause you to be misdiagnosed or even treated with the wrong medicine, which is sadly very common.
Oversight and Rushing Can Lead to Medical Misdiagnosis
- Did your doctor or physician really listen to you? Many doctors brush aside your real symptoms for a medical cause they are more familiar with.
- Lab tests are often perfunctory and not thorough enough for your symptoms. Doctors promise to take more lab tests if abnormal results are returned, but often don’t.
- Are your personal markers for a medical problem the same as everyone else’s? Lab tests are given a range of what is considered normal for most people. If your lab test comes back “close enough” to normal, there may be no follow-up.
- Has your doctor made you aware of your lab test results? Have they promised to call you if anything looks out of place? A doctor should always call you to notify you that they have actually received the results and explain in easy to understand language what the results mean.
- Doctors can be short sighted about a patient’s full medical history and the only information they work from is the information they get from examining you. You may sign a release to get medical records from another doctor, but were those records actually read by your doctor?
Commonly Misdiagnosed Illnesses and Diseases
However, misdiagnosis and late diagnosis are a sad, hard fact of life. Diagnostic tests are combined with formal procedures that may result in misdiagnosis for many. A general pain in your lower abdomen could result in the wrong diagnosis if the right test is not taken. Similarly, a lack of pain could result with the doctor overlooking a life threatening illness. For those of us not informed or knowledgeable of the human body, it can be hard to distinguish where the pain is specifically located. It’s also easy to overlook a problem that may not seem serious if you don’t feel any pain. According to Dr. Robert Bonow, former president of the American Heart Association, heart attacks are one of the most misdiagnosed diseases. A person can have a heart attack with few or no symptoms.
Other diseases commonly misdiagnosed include:
- Prostate cancer
- Broken bones
- Bacterial infections
Do I Have The Wrong Diagnosis or Treatment?
If you suspect that you’ve been misdiagnosed you deserve to get a second opinion or search for an alternative treatment. Proving a misdiagnosis is difficult and expensive, although it is estimated that anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of cases are misdiagnosed and commonly occur each year. A misdiagnosis can result in the wrong treatment, harm to your health and even death. Doctors are often scared to report misdiagnosis and patients are usually unaware of the misdiagnosis until it’s too late. If you do suspect that you have a misdiagnoses or that you’ve been assigned the wrong treatment, you should :
- Seek a second opinion or visit with a specialist who can further look into your case.
- Ask for an alternative treatment and let your doctor know that the assigned treatment is not working.
- Do your own research before you go in and give specific details of your illness.
- Don’t always assume your doctor knows best, if you feel that the diagnosis is wrong, let them know.
What to Do When You Have Been Misdiagnosed
If you or a loved one has suffered in any way due to a doctor’s misdiagnosis, you have the right to file a medical misdiagnosis claim. Doctors are reluctant to share information that may put them at fault and fighting a board of certified doctors is extremely difficult for a patient to do alone. If you want to fight for your rights, contact the Law Offices of W.T. Johnson for your medical misdiagnosis claim immediately. We are attorneys skilled in medical malpractice misdiagnosis and late diagnosis. Medical bills and other costs pile up quickly. However, before a lawsuit can be filed pertaining to malpractice or misdiagnosis a preliminary finding of negligence on the doctor or hospital’s behalf is required — so don’t delay.Every individual deserves the right to be treated fairly, so let the experienced attorneys at W.T. Johnson fight for you.