When we are ill, we go to the hospital and we place all of our trust in the doctors and medical professionals there, in the hopes that they will be able to help us heal. However, sometimes doctors make mistakes and medical misdiagnosis is a much more common problem than you might think.
There are a number of reasons why a medical misdiagnosis might happen. It could be a result of a communication error between the doctor and the nurse, or a lab technician reading the test results wrong. Sometimes doctors misinterpret symptoms, or just make a wrong judgement – there are many opportunities for mistakes to occur.
In this infographic from Irwin Mitchell, you will be able to see some of the common diseases that are often misdiagnosed by doctors – such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease, Coeliac Disease and many others. In fact, the infographic offers the shocking statistic that 40% of diseases are misdiagnosed the first time! Once you know how often this problem can happen, you will become a much more interested participant in your own medical treatment – as you will always be questioning your doctor to make sure that he or she knows exactly what they are doing.
Of course, the consequences of a medical misdiagnosis can be very serious. When you have been diagnosed with the wrong disease, you will be taking the wrong medicine while your disease worsens and spreads – potentially becoming life threatening. Sometimes a misdiagnosis has led to death, because by the time the patient figures out what is actually wrong it is too late to treat the actual disease. Many victims of medical misdiagnosis have been able to claim compensation for negligence with the help of a specialised lawyer who focuses on these types of cases.
Reasons Why Medical Misdiagnosis Can Happen
But why exactly do such major mistakes happen? You might be tempted to blame stupidity or laziness on the part of the doctor, but there are many reasons why an error like this could occur. Here are some of the reasons why medical misdiagnoses might happen.
· Sometimes patients will fail to give their doctor a full picture of their symptoms, perhaps because they had forgotten them, they were embarrassed by them or they didn’t recognise their significance.
· There are many cases where the doctor has matched up the illness with another one with similar symptoms – the diagnosis seems to make sense at first and they don’t realise that it is wrong until much later.
· In some cases, the lab reports and tests were performed incorrectly and present misleading information – or they are interpreted incorrectly by the doctor or the lab technician.
· Doctors work long hours and are often exhausted, so there is a certain amount of human error involved as they start to lose focus at the end of a shift.
· Sometimes doctors can dismiss a patient’s symptoms as “psychological” and fail to investigate them.
· Another cause of a misdiagnosis is a lack of communication between doctors, so when a patient switches over to another doctor the second physician doesn’t know a key piece of information about the patient’s health history.
These are just a few of the many reasons why a misdiagnosis might occur in the medical system.
What can you do to reduce your chances of suffering from a misdiagnosis? First of all, make sure that you tell your doctor about all of your symptoms, even the ones that you think might be embarrassing or insignificant. Also, do your own research. If your doctor’s diagnosis doesn’t match with what you have read on the internet – you can ask them questions and make sure that they clarify how they reached that conclusion.
If you are really unsure about your doctor’s diagnosis and you think you might have been misdiagnosed, you can always visit a different physician or a specialist and get a second opinion. It doesn’t hurt to have someone else offer their insight and it just might save your life.
Read this interesting infographic to learn more about medical misdiagnosis and the common diseases that are often mistaken for others. It is important to be informed about your healthcare, so that you can make sure that you are getting the best possible treatment.
Calvin Ford writes for a number of online publications. He focuses on the topics of health and wellness and writes about how we can keep ourselves happy and healthy for the long term.