What are the main ways physicians fail during diagnosis?

When someone has concerning medical symptoms, they need a professional’s help to get treatment. Doctors can send someone to a specialist for treatment or potentially recommend a drug that could address their symptoms without the need for specialist intervention.

The first step toward obtaining prescription drugs or other medical interventions is an accurate diagnosis. People expect that a physician can help them determine the underlying cause of their symptoms. Unfortunately, diagnostic errors are quite common. In fact, they are among the most common mistakes made by physicians treating patients.

Reaching the wrong conclusion

Misdiagnosis or diagnosing someone with the wrong condition is relatively common. Doctors might assume that someone has a minor health issue when in fact they have failed to rule out much more serious issues that cause the same symptoms. A misdiagnosis will prevent a patient from getting treatment and may lead to them undergoing unnecessary treatment.

Failing to diagnose the patient at all

If a doctor doesn’t have enough information, if they don’t trust their patient or if they are unfamiliar with an unusual medical condition, they might not reach a diagnosis at all. A failure to diagnose means that someone goes home without proper care, and in some cases, that diagnostic failure might prevent them from seeking out medical intervention in the future.

Both misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are serious enough to impact someone’s health and finances. Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit is one way to hold medical professionals accountable when they fail in their basic obligation to diagnose their patients and serious harm results.

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