There is really no difference between a failure to diagnose an illness and a misdiagnosis. You are either diagnosed with an incorrect illness or diagnosed as “nothing wrong.” Either way, the consequences can be serious.
Also, physicians are not the only ones in New Mexico that misdiagnose illnesses. Many patients fail to seek medical treatment for one reason or another and make the mistake of misdiagnosing themselves, or just assuming nothing is wrong. This occurs, unfortunately, way too often. However, once medical advice or treatment has been sought, the responsibility lies on the medical professional if a misdiagnosis is made. The medical professional, like only a handful of other professions, has the patient’s life in his hands when he provides medical advice and treatment.
You might wonder how common failure to diagnose occurs. Misdiagnoses, or delayed diagnoses, are extremely common – one reason being because many illnesses have common symptoms. Based on malpractice lawsuits that are filed, we can equate that the most common conditions that cause harm or injury to patients are breast cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, heart attacks and appendicitis. While there are many other illnesses that remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, they do not often result in a rapid decline of the patient’s health and, therefore, are not as obviously revealed.
In addition to making a total misdiagnosis, a medical professional may make a partial misdiagnosis, which can at times be just as detrimental to one’s health as a complete misdiagnosis. Some illnesses have different subtypes or different levels of severity. For instance, Type 2 Diabetes may be misdiagnosed as Type 1 Diabetes, resulting in different treatment or medical advice.
The best advice if you are suffering from symptoms is to seek treatment. Don’t try to diagnose yourself or ignore the symptoms. Once you have sought treatment by a medical professional, do your own research. You may want a second opinion. If treatment is not working, don’t wait. Let your doctor know. Your future can depend on it. If you feel you have been misdiagnosed, consult someone for legal advice.
Source: Right Diagnosis from Healthgrades, “Failure to Diagnose,” accessed Nov. 21, 2016