As a patient, when you go to the doctor, you expect to be treated with quality care. You provide a list of your symptoms to the doctor and expect the professional to be able to find out what is wrong with you. In many instances, it can take several days of testing to determine the actual cause of pain or sickness.
It is not uncommon for a patient to be misdiagnosed. When this happens, if additional treatment is not sought, the patient can end up with further damage to the body.
What is Misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis is when a patient is told that a certain sickness or injury has occurred when actually something else has taken place. It can be easy to be misdiagnosed but in some cases, this can be life-threatening or damaging.
For example, if you have the flu but the doctor thinks it is just a cold, you will not receive the treatment you require. This can lead to further sickness within your family as well as damage to your body. Without proper treatment, you could end up in the hospital in worse condition.
Let’s take an arm injury as an example of misdiagnosis and how it can affect the future. The patient has injured his arm with broken glass. The patient was treated for his injuries. Later on, the patient realizes their arm has not healed properly and is quite painful.
After seeking help from a doctor, the patient finds out that the glass injury actually cut a tendon and surgery was needed at the time, but this was not provided. The original diagnosis was not as thorough as it needed to be and the patient now has a worse injury than before.
Also Read: Misdiagnosed: Stay Engaged and Follow Up
Understanding Improper Treatment
As a doctor provides treatment or a diagnosis that is not proper to the injury or sickness, this can be considered negligent. Negligence is considered anything that causes injury to the patient, failure to do anything that should have been done or the condition of the patient is worse than before. Doctors are expected to provide a high standard of care and diagnosis and treat patients properly.
Failure to Diagnose
Let’s consider the patient with the arm injury. The doctor in this situation was negligent because the arm injury was not fully diagnosed. A thorough examination of the arm was not conducted or the injured tendon would have been clearly seen.
The superficial wounds were the only area treated and the tendon problem was not resolved. As a result of the less than thorough care, the injury of the tendon became much worse. All the while, the individual suffered from pain as well as had difficulty in using his arm.
If the tendon had been treated immediately the issue may have been repaired without the need for surgery. This of course would be based on the injury.
However, because the injury was becoming worse over time, the option for surgery is now needed. The surgery would take place months after the accident happened instead of the problem being resolved the first time. Permanent damage may have been caused due to the negligence of the doctor.
In this scenario, legal action can be taken due to the doctor’s negligence. The doctor will need to be held accountable for the misdiagnosis as well as pain and discomfort the individual has faced in the months after the initial treatment. Many individuals in medical malpractice cases will seek damages for medical and other expenses as well as pain and suffering.
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