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Is misdiagnosis a common form of medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Aug 16, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Texas medical malpractice cases frequently focus on birth injuries and medication errors. However, receiving a misdiagnosis can be just as harmful. Most importantly, it is also far more common than you might imagine.

Do regulations or first impressions cause a misdiagnosis?

Many insurers do not cover tests until doctors exhaust other avenues of diagnosing a health issue. However, this may preclude them from determining the root of an issue. For example, what appears to be asthma might actually be lung cancer or the beginning of a heart condition.

When doctors have to use their best judgment rather than clinical tests, diagnosis errors happen. Statistics suggest that each year, 12 million Americans receive a misdiagnosis. Between 40,000 and 80,000 people die annually as a result of an incorrect diagnosis.

What to do in the aftermath of a misdiagnosis

Patients can be their own advocates to prevent medical malpractice because of misdiagnosis. While instructors seek to address the issue during medical training, patients have rights, too.

For starters, you should not worry about questioning a diagnosis. If it does not make a lot of sense or the course of treatment does not work, get a second opinion. In some cases, it may only require a records review by another doctor to pinpoint an error in protocol. Of course, this frequently means having to pay out of pocket and then attempting to recover the costs after another doctor confirms a misdiagnosis.

Health care policy does not put the patient first

As a patient, it is imperative to know your body. Do not be afraid to disagree with a doctor. The numbers back you up if you want to insist on a second opinion. Women, in particular, and minorities tend to be more likely to receive a misdiagnosis.