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Preventing the Biggest Mistakes Doctors Make - Misdiagnosis

By Josh Silverman on November 18, 2013


Special thanks to my brother-in-law for sharing this Wall Street Journal article.  It is a must read for anyone undergoing medical treatment.  Some of the most serious medical errors involve misdiagnosis.  In some cases it creates an emergency like missing a dangerous bleed or a life threatening infection.  In other cases, like slow growing cancers, there is time to get it right. 

This article describes how increased communication between patients and doctors can reduce mistakes.  A simple question from a patient of "what else could explain these symptoms?" can prompt a physician to consider other explanations and avoid unnecessary, costly, and sometimes dangerous medical procedures and tests.  When a physician misdiagnoses a medical condition two serious problems can arise.  First, the patient can be sent down a path of treatment for a condition that doesn't exist.  This can be serious as medications and treatments often carry serious side-effects.  Secondly, the original ailment gets neglected.  That can lead to unnecessary suffering.  It can also lead to a serious but treatable condition becoming lethal.

Physicians have complex jobs and no one becomes a physician without being very bright and capable.  However, no one is above tunnel vision.  In other words everyone, including physicians, can hone in on an explanation prematurely.  As a patient, you can prevent becoming a victim of medical malpractice by not being shy about speaking up and insisting on being part of the decision making. 

Undoubtedly there are physicians who too arrogant and impatient to take the time to listen to their patients. The same can be said about lawyers and other professionals.  If that sounds like your doctor (or lawyer) perhaps it's time to get another doctor (or lawyer).

On our website we discuss some of the legal issues concerning medical malpractice including providing damages, the statute of limitations, and punitive damages.  Here is a link to the webpage: http://www.joshsilvermanlaw.com/practice-areas/medical-malpractice

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