Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Different Forms of Misdiagnosis

Did you know that as much as 1 in 20 patients in outpatient clinics or doctor’s offices are misdiagnosed every year? That’s according to a recent study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety journal. This figure does not include similar cases that may have happened in hospital settings. 
 
Misdiagnosis can come in several forms, including those discussed below.

Doing too little
In some instances, the diagnosis completely misses the patient’s condition, or passes off a serious illness or injury as non-serious. For instance, stomach pains that are treated simply as constipation could later be found to be a case of internal bleeding or a cancerous growth. Improper diagnosis or treatment can be construed as negligence on the part of the doctor.

Doing too much
Conversely, the doctor may diagnose a patient with a serious condition. A mass detected in radiographic images and treated with cancer-fighting drugs may turn out on further examination to be benign. Excessive or unnecessary treatment which stems from erroneous medical judgments or aggressive treatment approaches can also constitute negligence.

These two main types of misdiagnosis can result to serious harm or even death, which could be grounds for a medical malpractice suit. In proving that negligence had indeed transpired, the testimony of an internal medicine or forensic toxicology expert can be helpful. Such a professional can identify deviant treatments, poisoning drugs, and other possible harmful factors that can arise from medical negligence.

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