Misdiagnoses are errors made during a diagnosis, whether it is for a physical or mental illness. These errors can be due to doctors’ mistakes or because the patient has an ailment that mimics another condition. It is estimated that one in six patients who come to the doctor with specific symptoms has been incorrectly diagnosed. As such, if your physician misdiagnoses you, then you must act quickly to get on track with proper treatment.
Misdiagnosis occurs more often than many people realize. According to a study done by CNN and reported in USA Today, approximately 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed every year, resulting in 5-17 percent of all cases of cancer being either delayed or wrong altogether. The National Academies Press published a study that showed roughly one out of ten patients who come to the doctor with specific symptoms had been incorrectly diagnosed.
7 Steps To Take After A Misdiagnosis
Patients rely on medical providers to have the correct information, obtain the correct tests, interpret those results correctly, and recommend an accurate course of action based on their expertise. But what happens when it doesn’t happen? What should you do if you were misdiagnosed? If you find yourself or someone you love has been given a misdiagnosis, you want to know what to do.
1. Seek Legal Representation
Patients have the right to seek legal representation if they feel that a misdiagnosis has led to an incorrect course of treatment. Misdiagnoses are not limited only to cancer but also other illnesses such as heart disease, autoimmune disorders, stroke, or cardiac conditions found during routine screenings or examinations.
It is essential to understand that the medical professional you are taking your case to may have contracts with insurance companies and hospitals, affecting their ability to be impartial when reviewing your case. However, there are medical malpractice lawyers in Wichita who focus on nothing else, therefore, it might be well worth speaking with one to get a second opinion about what happened in your situation.
2. Challenge the Treatment Plan
If you do not feel comfortable with the treatment plan given to you by your current provider, talk with them about why you feel this way. Also, ask if anything can be done to change things or add other options into the mix so that things are safer for your health and wellbeing. Either during treatment or after if medication needs to continue being taken. Never be afraid to question any aspects of your treatment plan – you are the one who is going to have to live with the consequences if something goes wrong.
3. Gather Evidence
If possible, gather Evidence related to your case. One of the best things you can do if dealing with a potential misdiagnosis is to keep records. This includes medical records, test results, medication lists, and anything else that could help prove that a misdiagnosis occurred. If you have lots of information from several different providers, it can be helpful to bring this with you when you see a new physician or specialist. This can help them get a good picture of what is going on and how they might better treat your condition.
4. Don’t Panic
Panicking will not help you or allow you to make the best decisions. By panicking, you are likely to make choices that could turn out to be wrong and even harmful for your health. You don’t want to change your course of treatment too quickly without thinking it through thoroughly and doing the proper research. The stress involved in a misdiagnosis can trigger all sorts of issues in and of itself, and adding more stress is just going to delay getting better. Either with medical treatment or by finding out what you have that is causing your symptoms – or both. This doesn’t mean that if someone has given you a diagnosis that scares you, don’t get a second opinion. It just means that the first thing to do is not freak out.
5. Consult with Other Specialists
If you have been misdiagnosed, you will likely need to see other specialists get a correct diagnosis. This can be costly and time-consuming but is necessary to ensure you are getting the best care possible. Get a second opinion if you are not comfortable with the diagnosis or treatment plan. This is the health we are talking about, so it is your right to do this. You don’t have to feel guilty or embarrassed either – plenty of people get second opinions all the time, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It can show that you are taking your health seriously.
6. Contact the National Center for Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
This is a nonprofit organization founded to help people who have been misdiagnosed or had a delayed diagnosis. They can offer support and information to you and put you in touch with other individuals who might be able to help you. In addition, they can also provide you with information about the latest medical guidelines and upcoming clinical trials to ensure that you are getting the most current and best care possible.
7. Seek Social Support
Reaching out to family and friends during this time can help tremendously. You don’t want people turning their backs on you when dealing with something like a misdiagnosis, but sometimes that happens. By reaching out early, it might be possible to get the support you need to move forward with your life in the best way possible for yourself and your health. This will also allow you to feel like someone has got your back when things get tough – which they likely will at some point or another. No one wants to put up with being sick or not to be able to do certain things, so having people willing to listen can make all the difference in how quickly you heal both physically and emotionally.
If you have been misdiagnosed, it can be a very frightening experience. You may feel like you are all alone in this or that no one understands what you are going through. However, by following these tips, you can take some control back and start getting the care you need. Remember to stay positive, do your research, and reach out for help when necessary. With time and patience, you will get through this tough time.