The Philadelphia medical malpractice lawyers at Anapol Weiss have seen firsthand the devastating effects of a medical misdiagnosis. Failure to diagnose serious conditions such as cancer, pneumonia or meningitis can be result in a death that may have otherwise been prevented.
A patient is not to blame when a condition is misdiagnosed. It is the doctor’s responsibility to provide a correct diagnosis. However, there are a number of steps a patient can take to decrease the chances of becoming another victim of medical malpractice.
To decrease the likelihood of a medical misdiagnosis, patients can:
- Keep all doctors informed about any important health information including medications
- Speak up if you have any questions or concerns about treatment or medications
- If treating with multiple facilities, ask your primary doctor to coordinate treatment
- Bring a family member or friend with you to your appointment
- Ask how and when you will be notified of test results
- Advise doctors of any allergies or previous adverse reactions to medications
- Make sure you can understand the writing on any prescription a doctor gives
- Ask questions about the necessity, directions, side effects and interactions of your medications
- Confirm with the pharmacist that you are getting the medication you were prescribed
- Ask the pharmacist for a written list of side effects
- Learn more about your condition using reliable sources provided by your doctor
- When undergoing surgery, select a hospital or surgeon experienced with that specific type of procedure
- Make sure there is a mutual understanding between you, your doctor and the surgeon about what exactly is being done during surgery
- To avoid hospital-related infections ask all healthcare workers that may touch you if they washed their hands
- When discharged from the hospital, ask the attending surgeon to explain follow-up treatment and home care instructions
Medical misdiagnosis cases are responsible for up to 160,000 deaths per year in the U.S., according to John’s Hopkins 2013 BMJ Quality and Safety report. Staying informed about one’s care and condition can prevent a patient from becoming another medical malpractice victim.