Doctors have a wealth of resources at their disposal. If they work for a major medical practice or have admitting privileges at a local hospital, they may have access to all kinds of advanced imaging technology like CT scans and MRIs. They can hire a laboratory to test samples for pathogens or specific genetic markers. They may even have some rapid result tests available for common conditions like strep throat.
Unfortunately, doctors sometimes reach a diagnosis without taking the proper testing steps first. When they do, patients often suffer as a result. Thousands of people every year suffer adverse medical consequences because of a diagnostic mistake by their doctor.
Delayed diagnosis is a serious issue
Whether you have a traumatic brain injury that will slowly get worse without intervention or cancer that requires surgery and chemotherapy, timely medical intervention is key to a good prognosis. The longer it takes a doctor to reach the right diagnosis, the worse someone’s condition may become in the interim.
The wrong diagnosis can mean unnecessary treatment
If a doctor reaches the wrong diagnosis because they don’t perform the right tests or ask the right questions, the treatment they recommend could hurt the patient. Taking unnecessary medication could cause an allergic reaction or all kinds of side effects. Undergoing invasive treatments could cause a range of unnecessary medical consequences. Receiving the wrong treatment can cause many different medical issues, just like delayed treatment can.
Understanding that diagnostic mistakes are a common form of medical malpractice can help you take action when your doctor’s errors hurt your health.