A common yet unspoken-about issue, medical misdiagnosis is said to affect anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of all cases. This amount exceeds dangerous drug and surgical errors, is equal to breast cancer deaths, and may impact 12 million Americans per year. Out of this theoretical total, 6 million individuals experience harm.
Why does it go under the radar? Misdiagnosis is often associated with seemingly routine care and less extreme illnesses, such as pneumonia and urinary tract infections. A patient, as such, is more likely to receive incorrect treatment or be prescribed the wrong drug through a primary care or an emergency room visit.
Yet, just because the illness isn’t severe, that doesn’t mean the consequences aren’t. Here’s what can happen as a result of misdiagnosis:
A Patient Goes to Another Doctor
As mundane as this appears, a patient who suspects his or her care isn’t satisfactory often doesn’t stay with the same doctor. He or she, instead, seeks out someone else for a different opinion. The initial doctor, however, isn’t aware of the error and may continue to make the same mistakes or take the same approach in the diagnostic process.
Patients Go Through Unnecessary Medical Procedures
Poor treatment negatively impacts a patient’s health. Misdiagnosis has subjected patients without cancer to chemotherapy, or has resulted in patients with serious physical conditions being prescribed psychiatric treatment and medications.
No matter if the doctor catches one illness while missing another or comes to the wrong conclusion, the patient often experiences:
- Treatment that’s not necessary
- Harmful side effects as the result of this treatment
- Physical and emotional scars
- High medical bills
- Time off from work and lost wages
- Additional physical complications or worsened health
A less-explored aspect, misdiagnosis turns into a traumatic experience for many patients. According to previous studies, patients feel as if the physician’s actions violated their trust. In response, some start displaying signs of PTSD or lose confidence in the medical system as a whole.
The Present Illness Isn’t Addressed
When a patient makes an appointment, he or she expects the symptoms to be analyzed and for the doctor to come to the right conclusion. From here, the condition is treated and should get better with time.
Yet, when an illness or physical ailment is ignored, the symptoms worsen. A patient, once this disease is detected, may have to go through a more serious, dangerous procedure or, worse, may find he or she doesn’t have much time left. There have been misdiagnosis cases in which a patient, after being treated for a less-severe ailment, discovers the illness progressed, undetected or ignored by medical professionals, to a late- or terminal-stage condition.
A fair number of malpractice cases fall within the misdiagnosis realm. If you suspect medical professionals ignored your systems and prescribed you a different, superfluous, or harmful course of treatment, Trantolo & Trantolo is here to address your claim. Contact any of our Connecticut offices to have an experienced lawyer examine your case.