In an article on our website, we explored a study on misdiagnoses across the U.S. In that article, we discussed statistics indicating that about 5 percent of people in this country have been the victim of a misdiagnosis. As small as that number might seem, it actually comes out to be about 12 million people who have suffered adverse effects of a missed or inaccurate diagnosis.
This is a very troubling issue. Patients go to the doctor for answers and to feel better; if this doesn’t happen because of a potentially preventable mistake on the doctor’s part, patients are the ones who must pay the price.
A misdiagnosis can harm patients in a number of different ways. To begin with, any diagnosis can come with prescribed medication. If you have been given the wrong diagnosis, any treatment for that condition can make matters worse. Medication may do absolutely nothing; it may have serious side effects that do even more harm to a person’s condition; it may also interact poorly with other drugs and further compromise a person’s health.
While patients are focused on treating a misdiagnosed condition, the original ailment can go untreated and grow to be even worse. This is often the case when cancer is misdiagnosed. Doctors and patients spend so much time on the wrong thing that the cancer can be left to spread. In some cases, there is such a delay in getting the proper diagnosis that what may have been a treatable condition to begin with is no longer controllable.
All this time, a person may also be missing out on work, needing extra help with the kids, paying for medical testing and treatment, trying to get to numerous doctor appointments and dealing with the stress and financial strain of trying to juggle it all. It is no secret that stress can lead to poor diet, inability to sleep, tension and other conditions that are certainly not going to help someone struggling with recovery.
Unfortunately, one in 20 people will be faced with this very difficult situation, according to statistics. But it is important for people in this position to remember two things. First, you are not alone and you do not have to go through this on your own. Second, you have the right to hold negligent doctors and hospitals responsible for their costly mistakes.