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Help Protect Yourself From A Medical Misdiagnosis In 3 Steps

Medical misdiagnoses are as common as they are dangerous. In all likelihood, you or someone you love has suffered a misdiagnosis or a late diagnosis.

While it is not known how many diagnostic mistakes take place every day in clinics and hospitals throughout Chicagoland, a recent study shows most Americans will receive a wrong diagnosis at least once in their lives. In some cases, these lead to terrible consequences for patients and their families, making diagnostic errors the most common mistake leading to successful medical malpractice claims.

The good news is, as a patient or the advocate of patient, you can take steps to help prevent misdiagnoses.

  1. Take and share notes: Provide your doctor with as much information as possible. Your family history and specific symptoms are as important - if not more important - than subsequent biopsies, MRIs and blood work. No detail is too small. Accurate and complete notes about how you feel and your medical background can provide the exact clues your doctor needs to make the right diagnosis.
  2. Ask questions: Doctors often seem like they are in a rush, but do not let this make you feel shy or rattled. Get the attention you need and deserve by asking questions. Come to appointments with a list prepared, and if you don't think your doctor's conclusion makes sense, say so. Ask, "What else could this be?" This will encourage your doctor to consider other possibilities.
  3. Get multiple opinions: Do not be too timid to ask for your tests to be reviewed by a second person. Diagnostic tests, including biopsies, can be misread leading to unnecessary or delayed treatment. Ask to have the pathology rechecked and seek an opinion from a second physician.

By being a participant, and not just a recipient, of your diagnosis, you can help direct your doctor down the right path.

If you are currently suffering because of a missed or delayed diagnosis, consider pursuing a medical malpractice claim to get the answers and compensation you need to move forward. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you understand your options and determine whether a doctor acted properly in diagnosing cancer or another disease.

Source: The Washington Post, "Most Americans will get a wrong diagnosis at least once in their lives," Lena H. Sun, Sept. 22, 2015

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