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Why ruling out medical issues is not the same diagnosing them


Posted by Thomas Pettinicchi of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Jan 04, 2013 in Failure To Diagnose

In an ideal situation, a person who is not feeling well will go to the doctor, learn what medical condition is causing his or her suffering and then be given the proper medication to treat the illness. In reality, unfortunately, many hospitals and doctors focus too much of their time and resources on ruling out certain issues rather than figuring out what is actually wrong. This procedural flaw can result in a failure to diagnose potentially life-threatening conditions.

A recent column in The Huffington Post suggests that not only does this practice of misdiagnosis cost patients hundreds of thousands of dollars, but such medical errors have cost more than 100,000 patients their lives. Too often, patients leave the doctor's office feeling no better and without a confirmed diagnose. Many times, a person winds up simply knowing what is not wrong with them.

There has been a push to improve certain areas of medical and surgical treatment in recent years. Programs and technologies are aimed at reducing infections during surgery, tracking medical tools and reporting possibly dangerous drug interactions. However, the author of the article correctly suggests that more improvement is also needed in the diagnosis phase.

Without a correct and confirmed diagnosis, a person will continue to suffer from what could be a very treatable illness. Instead of looking for a solution, doctors may simply order test after test to rule out a variety of problems. These medical tests are often expensive and may be completely unnecessary in the end.

It is suggested that patients take a more proactive approach when it comes to obtaining a diagnosis. Instead of letting doctors run a bunch of tests for unknown reasons, people can ask the doctor for information regarding what he or she thinks may be wrong before the testing is done. This way, a person will be able to tell if a doctor is simply ruling out a variety of conditions instead of focusing on finding a diagnosis.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Why Diagnosis Is the Key to Your Health -- And the Health of the Nation," Leana Wen, Jan. 4, 2013

  • Our Connecticut law firm works with patients who have suffered from any type of medical malpractice, including those mentioned in this post. Victims who have been misdiagnosed can to visit our website for more information.