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Medical misdiagnosis: Serious problem for patients in OH

Medical misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose patients are forms of medical malpractice that put the lives of patients at risk.

When doctors provide patients with the wrong diagnosis or neglect to make a diagnosis at all, they put patients' lives at risk. Unfortunately, this form of medical malpractice continues to happen in various healthcare settings in Ohio and across the country. Patients who are affected by misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose may end up with serious infections, long-term conditions or other life-threatening illnesses due to physician negligence. Why is the rate of medical misdiagnosis so high, and what can people do to minimize the chances of becoming the next victim?

The facts

BMJ Quality and Safety released a new study indicating that at least 12 million people are misdiagnosed or undiagnosed every year in emergency rooms and local healthcare clinics across the U.S. Approximately half of those cases end in serious patient harm. Yet, researchers believe that this number should be significantly higher when taking into account that many cases go unreported and incidents where doctors fail to diagnose patients go undiscovered.

Pinpointing the problem

It can be difficult to determine just where healthcare professionals go wrong when diagnosing their patients. According to a CBS News report, some believe that part of the problem lies in the fact that physicians struggle to see a large number of patients in a short amount of time. In some cases, doctors simply don't have the means to spend quality time with each patient. As a result, the doctor may fail to perform a comprehensive evaluation of each patient's medical history, or forget to order a critical test that may help determine the root of the problem.

When doctors do order screening tests, they may not read the results of the test correctly, or overlook a component of the test. The chaotic atmosphere and frequent staff changes that occur in some healthcare settings can contribute to this issue as well.

Minimizing the risk of misdiagnosis

Although patients' look to doctors when seeking a medical diagnosis and treatment plan, there are things that people can do to improve the outcome of their healthcare visit. People should make sure to provide doctors with a complete and accurate medical history, including any prescriptions they are taking, surgeries they have had and conditions that run in the family. Furthermore, people who continue to have symptoms following a doctor's visit or are simply unsatisfied with the diagnosis that their doctor provided should see another physician for a second opinion.

Getting legal assistance

If your life has been affected by a doctor's inability to diagnose your condition correctly, you may want to talk to an Ohio attorney who can look into your legal options. Misdiagnosis can be costly, and you may have to undergo unneeded medical procedures, surgeries or treatments because of a physician's mistake. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses and the emotional trauma you experienced because of the doctor's negligence.