How Common Are Medical Mistakes? Part 2
Sep 7, 2007 by Peter Jameson
We looked at how widespread misdiagnosis is and at the frequency of medial errors and in this part we will take a look and the best ways to try and avoid being on the receiving end of them!
Whereas it is important to validate a diagnosis and to be certain of its accuracy, simply hoping and believing that you were misdiagnosed is not a sufficient reason to attempt to avoid treatment for a serious medical problem.
That said it would be prudent to attempt to confirm a diagnosis by means of second opinions, consulting specialists, getting further medical tests and even researching information about the medical condition that you supposedly have.
Misdiagnosis varies greatly according to the malady and ranges from as low as 1.4% in cancer biopsies to as high as the 20-40% rate in emergency or ICU care.
There are a variety of reasons as to why a misdiagnosis can occur including errors by doctors, specialists and in laboratory tests.
There are an assortment of the types of misdiagnosis too which range from a totally wrong diagnosis to a partial misdiagnosis which might be caused by any of the following. The wrong subtype; underlying conditions; medication causes; related conditions and or complications.
A Patient Can Do A Lot To Help Prevent Mistakes
Learning about your condition and its treatment is perhaps one of the best ways to prevent an error.
Be assertive about your right to be a part of the decision making process.
Be very sure you that understand everything and ensure that you have been told about all your options.
Make sure that you tell your doctors about everything medical, even if you think that something is totally unrelated. Tell them about prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, any other alternative treatments that you might have tried, previous diseases and prior surgeries if there were any. Don't presume that it's not important simply because your doctor didn't ask about it.
Check out your doctors record and find out how much experience he has with treating your condition.
If you're going to have surgery, have an observer during the surgery,
research the surgery record of the hospital and ask if your doctor or surgeon will perform the entire operation.
Finally and very importantly, make sure that you are familiar with all the alternatives to surgery. It should not be the 'easy' route for the hospital or doctor!
How Common Are Medical Mistakes. Part 1