If you have ever had a fever combined with a lack of energy and joint inflammation, you probably already know that there are dozens of medical conditions that produce the symptoms. Simply doing an internet search of your symptoms won’t necessarily give you an accurate diagnosis. Instead, you will have to go speak with the doctor who will use their expertise to sort through the many possible medical conditions that could be causing those symptoms and arrive at the correct diagnosis.
Given that serious medical conditions can sometimes present symptoms that seem like nothing more than the flu or a cold, it’s important that physicians take steps to rule out more serious causes before reaching a diagnosis. When they don’t do that, patients are atrisk of having an inaccurate diagnosis affect their care and recovery.
A wrong diagnosis hurts patients in at least two noteworthy ways
When a doctor doesn’t diagnose someone, it can mean a major delay in getting treatment. The more serious the underlying condition that causes the symptoms, the more problematic a delay in treatment may become.
The same issue absolutely impacts those with a misdiagnosis or an accurate diagnosis. What a doctor reaches the wrong conclusion about the cause of your symptoms, there will be a substantial delay in getting the treatment that you need for the actual condition that you have.
If that weren’t alarming enough, there is the additional risk of adverse effects from unnecessary treatment that you take to address a condition that you don’t have.
A delay in diagnosis can be the difference between life and death
When someone experiences a significant medical event, such as the development of cancer, a stroke or cardiac event, getting a diagnosis quickly is key to getting treatment that will reduce the long-term impact of the condition and the likelihood that it will prove fatal. The longer that you wait to get a diagnosis, the more serious the symptoms may become and the harder to treat the underlying condition may be.
Those who have had to undergo difficult and painful treatments due to a delayed diagnosis or who lost a loved one because of a doctor making a mistaken diagnosis may have the right to bring a medical malpractice claim against the physician who failed in their diagnostic attempt.