When you are ill and need help with a medical condition, a doctor’s office can feel like the safest place you can be. When you are visiting a doctor, you are relying on their years of education and medical experience to help you discover what is causing your pain and discomfort.
A diagnosis can bring a lot of relief to a suffering patient, even if the diagnosis is a negative one. Getting a diagnosis can help you regain control over your life. You can begin to build a treatment plan, research your diagnosis, and decide what your future plans will be.
To discover that you have been misdiagnosed can throw your life for a loop. Many patients can often feel more distraught than when they first got their initial diagnosis, especially if they discover that what they thought was benign or minor is much more serious.
The difference between a misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis
Some medical conditions can display similar symptoms or be tricky to definitively test for, therefore it’s important for your doctor to understand what questions to ask you and what to look for to better understand your risks. This includes your symptoms, but also could be such things as your medical history, your family history, places you have travelled recently and much more.
When a doctor misdiagnosis’ you, it means that they have diagnosed you with an incorrect condition. This can be quite dangerous since it can result in unnecessary, ineffective and sometimes even dangerous treatments. A misdiagnosis can also result in a lot of time and effort spent attempting to treat a condition you don’t have, which can end up making the actual condition you have worse. A misdiagnosis can also become quite costly, as new medications and treatments are attempted to no avail.
Unlike a misdiagnosis, a missed diagnosis is a failure on the part of your doctor to identify a medical condition when they are presented with the symptoms. This can be a very upsetting experience for a patient, since people will often feel dismissed. For example, a person could go to their doctor complaining that their mind and heart have inexplicably started to race, as though they were exercising heavily. Their doctor may suggest they are only having panic attacks and to try to relax more, when the patient may actually have atrial fibrillation.
By dismissing or minimizing the symptoms, the doctor could end up delaying necessary treatment for the patient and allowing the condition to worsen.
Both a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis can result in a medical condition growing worse and even, in some scenarios, becoming terminal.
If you have suffered a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis that caused your illness to worsen or progress, your life can be thrown into disarray. After a correct diagnosis and the beginning of treatment, you may still feel that your original doctor’s behavior unnecessarily put your life at risk. If this is the case, consider speaking with lawyers who specialize in medical malpractice suits, such as Tittle and Perlmuter, who can help guide you through any legal concerns or interest in pursuing a legal case.