What Factors Increase a Person’s Risk of a Misdiagnosis?

When you seek help from a medical professional, you expect that they can identify and correct the problem. We expect doctors to provide the proper diagnoses and better explain the specific issues that are causing difficulties with our health. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

Misdiagnosis and medical malpractice affect many people every year, and it can turn deadly quickly. Without proper treatment, You may suffer worsening effects of your condition, leaving you with a much more difficult medical case than before. Certain factors can increase a person’s risk of experiencing misdiagnosis, so watch out for these signs as you navigate your Portland medical malpractice claim.

Misdiagnosis Affects Millions and Can Be Deadly

Misdiagnosis is a serious matter that impacts millions of people. In fact, when diagnostic errors happen, it can have deadly consequences if the actual issue is not addressed. For example, when abdominal pain is dismissed as a stomach ache, but the actual problem is appendicitis, it can lead to an emergency situation.

According to reports from BMJ Quality & Safety, around 12 million people are impacted by misdiagnosis every year. The results of three studies were combined to find a diagnostic error rate of 5.08% of outpatient cases. These studies estimate that diagnostic errors may affect at least 1 in 20 adults, and many of these errors can be harmful or even deadly.

The danger of these diagnostic errors is supported by information from the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. Studies show that approximately 40,000 to 80,000 people die every year from diagnostic failures and that potentially as many suffer from permanent disability. Understanding where these diagnostic errors come from can help us better avoid them.

Common Causes of Diagnostic Errors

When a doctor makes a mistake, such as a diagnostic error, it can lead to significant health consequences. In fact, you may already be struggling to recover from the damage that diagnostic error caused. Below are a few of the most common causes of diagnostic errors, which can help you identify why the error happened and what you can do to take action.

Overconfidence of Medical Professionals

In some cases, doctors are overly confident about their abilities to diagnose a patient’s condition accurately. They may see common symptoms, and without pursuing more evidence for diagnosis, they may take action right away. Unfortunately, that can lead to significant issues.

Medical professionals may also have certain biases based on other patients’ experiences. For example, if you have a history of less significant or severe dizziness or fatigue, your doctor may have simply assumed that your symptoms were a continuation of that experience. In reality, you may be facing a much more severe condition.

Lack of Time Spent with Patient

Hospitals that serve a large location like a city or those with a high number of cases may have limited time to spend with each patient. Your doctor may have only spoken to you for a few minutes while nurses and other medical professionals handled the rest. Without time spent with the patient, it can be difficult to diagnose the problem at hand accurately.

Unfortunately, this frequently leads to quick decisions about your health that may not solve the underlying issues. Your doctor may even fail to listen to all of your symptoms and make a quick diagnosis based on a few key ones. This action can lead to missing obvious signs that could have led to an earlier diagnosis.

Lack of Resources for Diagnosis

For doctors working in hospitals or medical centers with labs and imaging centers, getting proper diagnostic tests is not difficult. Unfortunately, especially in rural areas, these resources may not be easy to access. Because of that lack of access, many doctors may simply fail to order the proper diagnostic tests.

Unfortunately, failure to provide the right tests can lead to a misdiagnosis. Your doctor is not receiving key information about your condition, which can lead to serious issues. If your doctor fails to order lab or imaging tests, that lack of results can lead to diagnostic errors.

Miscommunication between Medical Staff Members

While some people are able to simply see a general practitioner, many of us have multiple doctors we see. From dermatologists to gynecologists and more, you may communicate with multiple specialists for the care you need. Unfortunately, having a network of doctors means that certain information may be lost between them.

When seeking a diagnosis, pursuing help from specialists can provide more insight into your condition, which can help you receive comprehensive care. However, it can also lead to information being lost between these medical providers, leading to issues with your diagnoses.

Lack of Experience

When a doctor is not yet familiar with handling patients, They may not have the experience needed to diagnose you appropriately. While many doctors who are new to the field or are in training should have support from a more experienced medical professional, they may simply be completely unfamiliar with your condition. If your doctor is not yet qualified to manage your symptoms, it can easily lead to a misdiagnosis that negatively impacts your health and well-being.

You May Have Grounds for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit

When a diagnostic error turns dangerous, your health may have been permanently affected, and you may believe the doctor was careless with your safety. When that happens, it could mean you have grounds for a misdiagnosis lawsuit in Portland. However, filing a claim against a medical professional can be a complex process, and you may need help. At Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC, we pursue compensation that covers the mini needs of medical malpractice victims.

If you believe your doctor’s carelessness impacted your health, you can always reach out for a free consultation. We are prepared to discuss your case, whether you have grounds for action, and what we can do to help your case. To learn more about our services or to schedule your free consultation, call or fill out our online contact form.