Medical Misdiagnoses: Inaccuracies, Delays & Serious Errors

Some of the worst forms of medical malpractice happen during a treatment procedure, such as a surgical error or a mix-up at the pharmacy. However, many more types of medical malpractice happen before a patient even has a chance to receive treatments and during the diagnostic process. When a doctor makes a mistake or acts negligently while diagnosing a patient’s condition or symptoms, it is known simply as misdiagnosis.

There are many ways misdiagnosis can occur, but three common mistakes are:

  • Delays: Patients depend on their trusted medical providers and primary care physicians to use diagnostic tools available to them to identify their ailments as soon as possible. Serious and persistent health issues will not heal well on their own, and any delay in treatment could noticeably worsen the condition. When a diagnosis is delayed across multiple medical appointments, it could constitute medical malpractice if another doctor in the same situation would have likely diagnosed the patient on a sooner visitation by properly utilizing available diagnostic tests and tools.
  • Inaccuracies: In some cases, doctors do not hesitate to diagnose a patient, and this is a problem. Haste during the diagnosis process can lead to dangerous inaccuracies. Symptoms may be recognizable in two significantly different medical conditions and diagnosing one issue as the other can start a chain of medical mistakes. Treatment methods that might be effective for one problem can be useless or even detrimental if the patient actually has a different health issue altogether.
  • Egregious errors: Diagnosis delays and inaccuracies are not always examples of medical malpractice since identifying ailments remains difficult to this day. However, there are egregious errors a medical practitioner can make during the diagnosis process that should always be considered medical malpractice. Confusing one patient for another and making medical decisions based on that misinformation is clearly an inexcusable problem. There is also the all-too-common issue of doctors not reviewing or only skimming a patient’s medical record before making a diagnosis, potentially missing critical information like drug allergies or past surgeries that could affect upcoming procedures.

What to Do After a Misdiagnosis

As a patient who has been harmed through a misdiagnosis of your medical issues, what can you do to set things right? The first step is arranging to see another medical provider in your network if possible. Continuing to trust your health to someone who you think has made a serious medical mistake could put you in jeopardy.

Secondly, you should request copies of your medical record to look for errors. HIPAA rules allow you to always get a copy of your medical record, but they also allow medical institutions to charge a reasonably low fee for copying, handling, and shipping costs.

Lastly, you should get into contact with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to discuss what happened. It is always better to retell details of your doctor’s mistakes while the issues are fresh in your mind and before risking any sort of medical malpractice statute of limitations expiration.

To work with a medical malpractice attorney after receiving inadequate medical care in Philadelphia, call (215) 278-4449 and connect with Golomb & Honik, P.C.

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