New Study Finds Too Many Medical Diagnosis Errors
Many people feel that healthcare in the United States needs reform across the board. A recent study conducted by The Institute of Medicine confirms this and demonstrates that most Americans will have at least one incorrect or delayed diagnosis in their lifetime. Incorrect or delayed diagnoses contribute to tens of thousands of deaths annually, many of which are attributed directly to diagnostic report errors, in addition to hospital infections and medication errors. If you or anyone you know has been adversely affected by a delayed or incorrect diagnosis, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you find justice.Responsibility of Doctors
Doctors are human like the rest of us, which means they are not infallible, despite societal expectations. Physicians and other hospital staff are held to the highest standard of care; they have protocols, responsibilities, and trainings they must complete and recognize in order to succeed at their job. Even the best doctors, however, are capable of overlooking certain aspects of a patient’s condition that could change or confirm the diagnosis and allow that patient to seek treatment before it is too late.
For example, according to a recent report by the Courier-Post, sepsis, a critical infection, is the main cause of death in hospitals. Doctors say that it is extremely difficult to diagnose and may manifest itself differently in different patients. The national mortality rate for sepsis is between 20 and 50 percent. In one hospital in New Jersey, collaborative efforts for reform led to a drop in the mortality rate in that hospital to only 12 percent.
This suggests that through improved protocols, procedures, and training, limiting the amount of mistakes, misdiagnoses, or failure to diagnosis cases is possible. Regardless of the fact that reform will allow for fewer misdiagnoses or errors, mistakes will still happen. When they happen to us or a loved one, our initial concerns turn to the actions of the doctor and the hospital staff. Doctors need to take responsibility for their actions and face the consequences if they acted negligently.Responsibility of Patients
Patients have a responsibility when it comes to limiting incorrect or delayed diagnoses as well. There are many things a patient can do in order to improve their experience and ensure they are seeking the best care available to them.Do not be afraid to ask questions
If you do not understand something, say so. Doctors are trained to listen to and answer your questions. If you speak up about something that has been bothering you, it may be the clue the doctor needs to help make an accurate diagnosis. If you do not understand follow-up instructions, medical directions, or anything that the doctor is explaining to you, ask for clarification. A substantial part of the doctor’s job is to answer your questions.Obtain your complete medical chart before seeking treatment from another physician
With developments in technology, it is easy to request a transfer of records to from one office to another. However, you may never actually get a chance to see your records and, therefore, verify that they are accurate and complete. The best way to avoid this is to keep a copy of up-to-date medical records with you at all times. This is important for many reasons, chiefly, that you will have everything you need when you seek treatment from a new doctor. As a secondary matter, having a complete copy of your medical records can assist your attorneys in developing a case against your physician for making an error. When you decide to commence a medical malpractice case, all relevant medical records must be disclosed. Having a clear record of your prior treatment, names/addresses of doctors and knowledge of your past treatment can be tremendously helpful in developing a strong legal case against your doctor.Conduct independent research
While you can and should trust most physicians to give sound advice and treat your conditions appropriately, this does not mean that you should not undertake some responsibility in the process. First, selecting a doctor is easier than ever with numerous online sites that give peer-to-peer recommendations, reviews, and comments about doctors in your area. Though it is important to take the opinions of others with a grain of salt, so to speak, some people who take the time to write on these sites do provide valuable insight that you should consider. Second, there is a plethora of medical research available online for public use. Be careful when selecting websites for medical research; ensure you are using only reliable, trusted sources (such as those websites that end in .gov or .edu or are sponsored by a medical foundation, hospital, or association). These websites can be helpful in learning more about a condition or providing guidance about what you should do if you suspect you may suffer from one of these ailments.Contact Our San Jose, California Medical Malpractice Attorneys
At Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., our team of skilled San Jose medical malpractice attorneys understand that your health is the most valuable thing in life. We take allegations of medical malpractice very seriously and will work hard to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for a medical misdiagnosis or error. Failure to diagnose cases are difficult because you may have had more time with those that you love, had a diagnosis been made earlier. We understand the tremendous sensitivity these cases entail and will work with you to confidentially come to a resolution of this great injustice. Contact us today at (408) 289-1417.