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Misdiagnoses or late diagnoses: You could be at risk

Medical malpractice comes with a lot of myths, and one you might think is that malpractice, along with other kinds of medical accidents, doesn't happen very often. Unfortunately, that's not the case at all, and most people in America will have a late diagnosis or misdiagnosis at some point in their lives. When these issues happen, an attorney can help you get compensation, but sometimes, the damage is already done.

Getting the wrong diagnosis for a condition, or even getting a late diagnosis, can have dire consequences. This kind of mistake is much more common than people think, too; it hasn't been fully studied in the past, and data about these issues isn't readily available, making it hard to track how many people are affected. What is known is that patient safety isn't just about preventing surgical errors or medication dose issues, and patients who are being treated could be injured by a simple case of misdiagnosis.

A report from the Institute of Medicine reports that around 12 million adults are affected every year by diagnostic errors. How can you prevent yourself from falling into that group? Make sure you communicate clearly with your doctor and tell him all the symptoms you have. Remember the treatments you've had in the past and the side effects they resulted in. Keep records, so you can refer back to your results and have them ready if you switch doctors or pharmacies.By being proactive and questioning a diagnosis and why it's the diagnosis for your condition, you can make a doctor explain his or her thinking and hopefully catch any potential mistakes.

Source: The Washington Post, "Most Americans will get a wrong or late diagnosis at least once in their lives," Lena H. Sun, accessed Nov. 10, 2015

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