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Understanding diagnostic errors

When we are ill, it is not always clear what is wrong. Sometimes a sore throat is just a sore throat. However, other times it could be due to an infection. Understanding the cause of an ailment helps with the treatment plan. This often requires specific tests that will provide results for medical professionals. But what if the wrong test was ordered or the results of the correct test were misread? These negligent acts could cause a patient to have a misdiagnosis, harming his or her health and wellbeing.

When errors in diagnosis occur, this often means there is a delay or a failure to diagnose a disease or illness. This in turn results in injury to the patient or the progression of the disease. Had an accurate or timely diagnosis occurred, harms to the patient would have been avoided.

When looking at cases involving misdiagnosis, it is important to understand how these diagnostic errors occurred. A medical professional is trained to think and act according to the information they are provided. If more information is required, tests are ordered. Doctors are educated on what types of tests are appropriate. If the wrong test is ordered, a proper diagnosis cannot be reached. Tests, scans and labs can be misread. If a medical professional is rushed or even examines the wrong test, this could result in the wrong diagnosis being made.

Because patients trust and rely on their doctor to make an accurate diagnosis, it may take time for a patient to recognize that they are not undergoing the correct treatment plan. It may not be clear for some time that a diagnostic error was made. Thus, it is important for patients to understand their rights and the timeframe they have to file a legal action. A medical malpractice suit could help a patient hold a negligent medical professional accountable for their wrongdoing while also collecting compensation for his or her losses and damages.

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