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Faced with a misdiagnosis: What should you do?

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

CBS News reports that nearly 12 million Americans receive an incorrect diagnosis each year. This is an alarming number, especially since we put our trust in medical professionals to help us heal. 

Sadly, most people do not report their misdiagnosis since there is no easy way to do so. That is why many people wonder: what should they do if they think their doctor gave them an inaccurate diagnosis?

First: How do you know you have been misdiagnosed?

This is one of the main reasons that misdiagnoses are such a significant issue. Every medical issue involves different symptoms, and not everyone exhibits the same symptoms. It can be incredibly difficult for individuals to tell whether they received the wrong diagnosis or not. 

However, there are a few common warning signs that they might have a misdiagnosis, including:

  • The doctor does not order tests or screenings to ensure their diagnosis is correct
  • The treatment prescribed does not help, or possibly causes more health issues
  • The symptoms do not match up with the diagnosis
  • Even a gut feeling can indicate that something is not right

Although individuals should not rely on their gut feeling alone, it can help them speak up when they need to.

Steps to take after a misdiagnosis

Even if someone feels slightly uncertain about their diagnosis, they should say something. Speaking up can help prevent much higher costs in the future--including physical, emotional and financial stress. 

So, there are a few steps individuals can take if they suspect a misdiagnosis, including:

  1. Document any symptoms or developments: Even if a symptom feels insignificant or unrelated, it is important to keep a detailed record of any health issues.
  2. Get a second opinion: It is critical for individuals to find a medical professional they can trust who can examine them as well. If they determine a different diagnosis, then individuals can obtain both the treatment they need and evidence of the misdiagnosis.
  3. Bring someone to the appointment: Dealing with health issues and appointments can be overwhelming. It might be helpful if individuals bring a trusted friend or family member to support them.
  4. Do not be afraid to ask questions: Medical professionals might have a strict duty of care, but individuals often still have to be their own advocate. Speak up and ask questions.

Misdiagnoses are some of the most common medical errors. They are also extremely dangerous. Someone's condition could worsen without treatment, or they could potentially suffer even worse injuries or health issues. That is why individuals should speak out, so they can obtain the help they need.

If you think you or a loved one has been the victim of a misdiagnosis, contact Kaiser Hafezi Law today.

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