Misdiagnosis is a much more common problem than people realize and it can result in a tragedy. Therefore, if you suspect you might have been misdiagnosed, you need to take action right away. From getting the correct diagnosis to filing the medical malpractice case, the steps you will need to take include:
Determine if you’ve really been misdiagnosed
Misdiagnosis is a complicated issue and the current state of the healthcare industry might make it prohibitively expensive to seek out a second opinion without a solid cause. Therefore, first you should look out for the signs that point that you might have been misdiagnosed.
Deborah King, PhD, MS, RN writing for VeryWellHealth, says that the things you should look out for are:
- Lack of improvement after you start the prescribed treatment
- Issues in communicating with your doctor (they don’t listen to you, don’t answer questions or offer clarifications, avoid the second appointment, etc.)
- Your personal research points to a different diagnosis
- Getting more prescriptions instead of answers when turning to the doctor for help or complaints about the lack of improvement
- Your gut feeling (is often generated by a mix of the above)
If the signs point to a possible misdiagnosis, you should do more research and decide whether the risks outweigh the cost of getting a second opinion. They usually do.
Get a second opinion
If you aren’t confident in the diagnosis offered by your primary care provider, seek out a second opinion from a specialized health practitioner.
It’s essential to go to a specialist for this as they will possess the knowledge and exp0erience to have a better chance of making a correct diagnosis. You should also consider the facilities available to this specialist as you will, no doubt, need to take more tests.
To cut the costs, you should try to find a specialist covered by your insurer’s network.
File a medical malpractice claim
If the misdiagnosis is proven, you should seek restitution from the primary care provider, which made the mistake. But bear in mind the advice from John Elliot Leighton, an experienced medical malpractice attorney in Miami. He explains that you can claim damages in the case of a misdiagnosis if said damage occurs. This means that filing a claim in the case of misdiagnosis only makes sense if the treatment prescribed based on the wrong diagnosis caused damage to the patient.
There is also a chance to make a successful claim if the delay in treatment of your condition caused by the initial misdiagnosis resulted in a severe progression of the disease. However, as these cases are extremely tricky, you will need to get assistance from an experienced attorney to win.
Misdiagnosis Prevalence: Things to Consider
In a recent study published in the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, Monica Von Such, MBA, states that over 21% of patients who went for a second opinion ended up with a completely different diagnosis. Moreover, only 12% of cases got a full agreement with the initial diagnosis. In 66% the referral diagnosis was better defined, thus leading to the development of more efficient treatment plans.
A misdiagnosis, even if it doesn’t incur damage to the patient’s health, can cause a lot of unnecessary expenses. Therefore, it’s always best to make sure that you haven’t fallen victim of it. And if your primary health care provider declines to provide a referral for a second opinion, you should consider it a red flag in itself.
Doing your own research can help get some clarity in the case of possible misdiagnosis. However, you need to be careful with this and not fall for the often incorrect information you can easily find online. Only use trusted medical information sources during your research.