Valenzuela Law Firm, PA | Trial Attorney
Attorney Henry E. Valenzuela

Why do misdiagnoses occur, and how should they be handled?

On Behalf of | Feb 7, 2019 | Medical Malpractice

Patients who are suffering from symptoms that their doctor has difficulty diagnosing may wonder if they’ve come down with a rare condition. Although instances in which a doctor is unable to diagnose a patient’s symptoms don’t happen all that often, there are two common reasons to explain why these types of events occur.

Your doctor may be hesitant to make a misdiagnosis. They may also not have listened to all of the symptoms as you described them when they saw you, resulting in a missed diagnosis.

Industry data shows that as much as 40 percent of annual diagnoses are either missed or incorrect, yet they’re seldom reported.

One of the reasons that they’re not reported is that if your doctor or a member of your medical team realizes that they incorrectly treated or diagnosed a patient is because if they were to do so, they’d expose themselves to being sued for negligence. If they were found liable for your injuries or someone’s death, then they could lose their Florida license to practice medicine.

Patients who have symptoms that persist should seek additional medical attention. These individuals may benefit from having their primary care physicians refer them to specialists. If they’ve already seen one, then they may consult with another one at a different practice. By getting a second opinion, or differential diagnosis, they may find out that they have a serious condition that may kill them.

In instances in which a patient dies, families often don’t suspect that a misdiagnosis occurred until they sit down and review their loved one’s medical records. While a medical examiner can perform an autopsy to determine what caused your loved one’s death, by the time they’re requested, it’s often too late to do this. It can also be costly. An attorney can advise you of other ways to prove that your physician was negligent.

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