Misdiagnosis – How to Prevent It and What to Do If You’re a Victim

Do you trust doctors and their medical teams? You should. After all, they’re all well trained and qualified. Besides, they have your interests at heart. Yet despite their best intentions, even the best medical professionals make mistakes. They, too, can misdiagnose your condition.

Statistics on Misdiagnosis

Is misdiagnosis a rare occurrence? Unfortunately, it’s not. Type “medical negligence UK” or “medical claims UK” into a search engine. The results will surprise you. Thousands of patients are misdiagnosed every year. What’s more, their number continues to rise both in private practice and in the NHS. So how do you avoid joining them?

Preventing a Misdiagnosis

1. Write Down Your Symptoms

Preventing a misdiagnosis starts the moment you notice you’re falling ill. Like everyone else, immediately call the doctor’s office to book an appointment. But unlike everyone else, don’t leave it at that.

In the days leading up to the appointment, write down your symptoms. In particular, note down when and how many times they occur. Also list the medicines you’ve taken to ease the symptoms. Next, write down whether the medicines worked and what you felt when you took them.

So why should you gather this much information? Without it, you may forget some symptoms when you finally get to the doctor’s office. In fact, most patients do. And without a clear picture of what ails you, the doctor may misdiagnose your condition.

2. Write Down What to Ask the Doctor

Apart from your symptoms, is there anything else you should note down? Yes, there is – any concerns you have about your symptoms. For instance: What should you know about your illness? Is it a serious illness?

Which medicines will you have to take for it? And what are their side effects? Which tests or procedures will you undergo? Will you be admitted to hospital? And if so, how long will you be there?

Although most patients walking into a doctor’s office have these and more questions in mind, few leave with a satisfactory answer. While some forget what to ask, others fear to ask their doctor anything.

Others still feel overwhelmed when in hospital, and they never get around to asking the questions. Needless to say, this shouldn’t be you. So, again, note down your concerns.

3. Dig into Your Medical History

Knowing your symptoms and your concerns about these symptoms is all well and good. But it’s not enough. Know your medical background as well. And unlike the symptoms or concerns, you don’t need to notify doctors about it. They already have access to your patient records.

If that’s the case, why should you dig into your medical past? Because it can affect your present condition, that’s why. As such, the history gives you a clearer picture of your symptoms.

How, then, should you gather this information? Start by writing down your past illnesses. Then, collect any relevant material related to each illness, such as CAT-scans or X-rays. But don’t stop there. Since some illnesses trace back through your lineage, you can also dig into your family’s medical history.

Talk to your relatives if you have to. Ask them if degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease exist in your blood line. What about cardiac problems or heart disease? After you gather this information, carry it with you to the doctor’s appointment.

4. Explain Your Symptoms in Detail

Armed with your symptom notes, list of questions, and medical history, you’re ready to face your doctor. When discussing your symptoms, pull out your notes. Then, explain them in as much detail as possible.

For instance, don’t just say where you’re aching. Keep in mind, an ache can be either sharp or dull. So be precise on which one. Do likewise when explaining how long it lasts and how long you’ve had it. If the dull ache lasts an hour and you’ve had it for three months, say exactly that.

But here’s a word of caution. When detailing your symptoms, don’t digress into what you think might be causing them. Leave the diagnosis to the doctor.

6. Carry Your Medication

Remember the medication you took for your symptoms? The ones you wrote down earlier? Make sure you carry it with you when visiting the doctor. And while explaining your symptoms, hand it to the doctor.

Based on the final diagnosis, the doctor can give you further advice on how to take it. Or, he or she can either change the dosage or even the medication.

5. Ask the Questions You Wrote Down

After examining you, the doctor will give you a diagnosis and the way forward. Now, pull out your list of questions. And like with the symptoms, go into as much detail as you possibly can.

If you don’t understand an answer, reframe the question until you get an acceptable one. And don’t forget – you don’t have to talk to just one doctor. You can also seek a specialist for a second opinion.

6. Ask What to Expect

Once you receive the diagnosis, don’t leave the doctor’s office without asking about what to expect. During recovery, what lifestyle changes must you make? How long will it take you to recover? And how will you know you’ve recovered successfully? More importantly, ask about any complications to look for.

What to do if You’ve Been Misdiagnosed

1. How to Know You’ve Been Misdiagnosed

Despite your diligence, your illness can be misdiagnosed. But how do you know when this happens? Earlier, you asked what to expect during your recovery. With the right diagnosis and treatment, your recovery should match what you were told to expect.

But if complications arise or if you take too long to recover, start asking questions. If possible, see other doctors. To your dismay, they might discover your so-called sprain is, in fact, a fracture. Or worse, you don’t have cancer as earlier diagnosed, yet you’ve gone through chemotherapy. What do you do with this revelation?

2. Medical Negligence Claims

Since you’ll have suffered as a result of the misdiagnosis, you’ll most likely want compensation. Fortunately, the law is on your side, for it classifies misdiagnoses under medical malpractice.

To file a medical negligence claim, approach medical negligence lawyers, such as The Medical Negligence Experts, who offer services on a no win no fee basis as well as a free consultation. This is important as you will want to talk about your claim and ask lots of questions before you make a definite decision on which solicitor will work for you. These claims are complex and have many requirements, and so finding the best medical negligence solicitors you can is important.

3. What to Expect When Pursuing a Claim

Because you must make the claim not more than 3 years after the incident, medical negligence solicitors will first want to know when it happened. Next, they’ll want as much information about the incident as they can. So, keep all medical records related to the incident close.

You’ll need them to prove the doctor’s negligence caused or worsened your illness. The best medical negligence solicitors will then want to know about your suffering. How much emotional and physical pain did you undergo?

Also, how much money or time did you lose? And was your life expectancy reduced as a result of the illness? With this information, they’ll determine how much compensation you can claim.

Conclusion

To prevent a misdiagnosis, write down your symptoms and any questions about your symptoms you need answered. Next, research both your medical history and that of your family. And when you get to the doctor, explain your symptoms in detail, ask the questions you wrote earlier.

In addition, carry any medication you’ve been taking. Then, ask what to expect during recovery. And if you discover you’ve been misdiagnosed, simply file a medical negligence claim.

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Adam

What can I say? I've got a passion for beards. The ladies love it, and I plan to maintain this masterpiece until the day I die. It may not surprise you to hear that I run our grooming section.

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