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Where medical diagnosing fails


Almost every Pittsburgh resident will visit the doctor this year. Some will visit for their annual exam and many more will need care because of an illness or injury. We all trust that our doctors will be able to tell us what is wrong and will help us get better but sometimes a doctor fails to diagnose our condition which can lead to a worsened condition.

When a doctor fails to diagnose a patient's condition correctly it can sometimes have serious consequences. Some diseases such as cancer and heart disease that are not treated promptly can lead to a delayed treatment and the spread of disease. As far as where a patient can receive a misdiagnosis the most likely place is with a family physician or internist. In a study done by CRICO Strategies, 57 percent of misdiagnosed errors were done in an ambulatory care setting. This was followed by 26 percent in a hospital inpatient setting and 16 percent in the emergency department. Among the mistakes made in ambulatory care, almost half were made by family physicians and internal medicine.

Ambulatory care doctors need to make sure they are thorough with their patients and ordering and understanding test results correctly. With the rush to see patients, it can be hard for them to receive the time necessary to make sure they are making the best decision. A patient who feels they have been misdiagnosed because of their doctor's negligence may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. A negligent doctor can be held responsible and compensation may be available for additional medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Pittsburgh residents deserve the best medical care they can get. Doctors have the obligation to make sure their diagnosis is accurate. A failure to diagnose serious medical conditions can lead to additional medical complications and even death.

Source: Medscape.com, "New report highlights the source of diagnostic errors", Wayne J. Guglielmo, March 17, 2015

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