Doctors are human, too: Patients must watch for mistakes

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2018 | failure to diagnose

It’s easy to put all your trust in your medical team, assuming they will make the right decisions at the right times.

Unfortunately, any doctor can make a mistake that has a negative impact on your health.

As a patient, it’s up to you to keep a watchful eye on everything your doctor does. This means asking questions, following up when necessary and never hesitating to get a second opinion if you have concerns.

Here are some of the many serious ailments doctors often misdiagnose:

  • Cancer: Delayed diagnosis is a big deal with cancer, as it gives the disease the opportunity to spread to other parts of the body. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed forms of cancer include colorectal, breast and lung.
  • Heart attack: It’s often easy for a doctor to mistake the symptoms of a heart attack for something else, such as indigestion. Regardless of your age or health, you can have a heart attack. It’s important to be persistent if you’re having heart problems, as you don’t want your doctor to write this off as something minor.
  • Pulmonary embolism: A blood clot that forms in or reaches the lungs can cause many medical problems. The symptoms are similar to many other less serious ailments, such as flu, chest cold and asthma. Adding to the chance of a misdiagnosis is the fact that a doctor must order several tests in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
  • Stroke: Symptoms of a stroke are often easy to detect, with these including difficulty speaking, confusion and weakness. While some strokes come on fast, some people experience a slow onset of symptoms, often building for several hours or days. It’s not out of the question for a doctor to mistake a stroke for a migraine headache.

It’s never a bad idea to trust your medical team, as they know more than you and take their job seriously. Even so, you can’t trust that everything they say or do is 100 percent accurate.

If you’re the victim of medical misdiagnosis, seek immediate medical attention to better understand what went wrong. Once you have a treatment plan in place, you can then learn more about the cause and how to protect your legal rights.


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