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Reducing Your Risk of a Missed Diagnosis

February 26, 2016 R

Although healthcare providers may be perceived as being infallible, they can and frequently do make mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes can lead to serious or even life-threatening consequences, such as a missed diagnosis that delay crucial treatment. One of the elements of medical malpractice is a breach in the standard of care. In other words, a doctor may be liable for medical negligence when he or she deviates from the normal protocol for a particular situation. This can lead to a delayed or misdiagnosis, such as when a doctor fails to order an imaging scan in a situation in which it is medically indicated. There are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of delayed diagnoses and other forms of medical malpractice.

Provide as Much Information as You Can

When it’s time to visit a healthcare provider, take a few minutes to write down important information. Providing your doctor with a written list of your symptoms can minimize the possibility of a missed diagnosis. Make a note of when your symptoms developed, whether they have worsened, and whether they seem affected by external factors, such as physical activity or meals. Additionally, it’s important to update your medical records each time you visit the doctor’s office. Let your provider know if you began taking a new medication, if you were diagnosed with any new conditions, or if there are any changes to your family medical history.

Speak Up If You Have Questions

Even if your doctor appears to be in a hurry to see other patients, you’re well within your rights to ask as many questions as you need to fully understand your situation. Ask what could be causing your symptoms, whether you should undergo any medical tests, and if so, when you can expect the results.

Seek a Second Opinion

It isn’t always necessary to get a second opinion; however, you shouldn’t hesitate to do so if you feel that your doctor is dismissive of your symptoms. You can also seek a second opinion for major medical issues, such as a suspicious lump or when a major surgery is recommended.

If you believe you were affected by misdiagnosis, you can contact the medical malpractice team at Pegalis Law Group, LLC. For more than 40 years, our malpractice law firm in Long Island, New York has been representing patients and their families. Call (516) 684-2900 to schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney today.