Perhaps you woke up one morning with a strange sensation, or you began noticing pain, discomfort or pressure you had never felt before. Maybe your symptoms overtook you suddenly, landing you in the emergency room. Your doctor undoubtedly ran diagnostic tests that may have included blood work, scans and endless questions before referring you to a specialist.
This was a frightening time for you, and the uncertainty may have been as upsetting as the symptoms. When your doctor finally decided on a diagnosis and gave your condition a name, you may have felt relieved to know the truth. If the treatment for that condition did not relieve the symptoms, there is a chance you were misdiagnosed. But how do you know for sure?
Getting it right from the start
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common medical errors in Indiana and across the country. If you accepted your doctor’s diagnosis and submitted to the recommended treatment, but your health failed to improve, you have the right to question the diagnosis. Reaching a diagnosis is not an easy process, but there are ways your doctor can improve the chances of getting it right, for example:
- Asking the right questions and really listening when you describe your symptoms
- Ordering the appropriate tests to rule out as many potential conditions as possible
- Repeating any lab work that yielded inconclusive or abnormal results
- Basing tests and conclusions on your most current medical records, not outdated information
- Confirming that the lab results contain no discrepancies, such as belonging to a different patient
- Taking the time to explain how he or she arrived at the diagnosis
- Being willing to consider alternative diagnoses
Perhaps the least helpful approach you can take to this situation is remaining passive and accepting your doctor’s conclusions when your instinct tells you something is not right. Like many, you may take advantage of some credible websites available to find alternate explanations for your symptoms. You have the right to educate yourself and to present your findings to your doctor. If your doctor is less than willing to allow your participation in your own health care, you may be right to consider this a red flag.
A doctor who merely treats your symptoms with more and more prescriptions risks not only failing to treat your condition, but may lead to serious interactions or side effects. If your doctor’s misdiagnosis lead to further injury, you have options. While no amount of money can replace your good health or recover the time you spent suffering, seeking compensation can send a strong message to your doctor.