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Misdiagnosis In Florida More Common Than One Might Think

When Florida residents seek medical care, they expect to be thoroughly evaluated, diagnosed and treated. Many people trust that knowledgeable physicians will treat their symptoms or condition and get them back on the road to recovery. Studies show, however, that at least one in 20 adult patients seen at a health clinic or emergency room may be misdiagnosed, according to a report published in BMJ Quality & Safety. This affects over 12 million people each year, and could cause significant harm to at least 6 million. Misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice, and can have serious implications for people suffering from cancer, pneumonia, congestive heart failure and other chronic conditions. For some patients, misdiagnosis may be deadly.

The Facts About Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis is often overlooked and underreported, as many patients may be unaware that they were given the wrong diagnosis until years later. Some patients seek a second option from another physician, leaving the original doctor unaware that they misdiagnosed the patient's condition. The National Center for Policy Analysis reported that the majority of misdiagnosed cases were due to doctor negligence. These cases are preventable and may be attributed to several different factors. An article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association listed the following possible reasons for misdiagnosis:

  • Doctors fail to order the right diagnostic tests or fail to read the test results properly.
  • Doctors fail to research the patient's full medical history before making a diagnosis.
  • Doctors do not spend enough time with each patient. Rushing from patient to patient can increase the likelihood of misdiagnosis.
  • Emergency room doctors and other physicians work long hours and may be sleep deprived.
  • Patients may see several doctors and may fail to give the physician their full medical history.

All of these factors can influence a physician's ability to perform. When lives are on the line, even the slightest mistake can have major consequences.

Effects Of Misdiagnosis

A misdiagnosis can affect peoples' lives in many ways. The wrong diagnosis can lead to extended pain and suffering, unnecessary surgical procedures, extensive medical expenses and permanent disabilities. A late cancer diagnosis can result in death. Failure to diagnose a raging infection may require amputation of limbs. Patients may be prescribed medication for a condition that they don't have. In some cases, taking the wrong medication can cause the patient to have undesirable side effects and adverse reactions. When a condition is misdiagnosed, the patient's actual condition can continue to worsen and may grow out of control.

The Need For Legal Assistance

Florida patients depend on physicians to provide life-saving medical services. When doctors fail to meet those obligations, people may be left to deal with the serious aftereffects of medical misdiagnosis and malpractice. An established attorney may be helpful in collecting information regarding your misdiagnosis and creating a case, holding those physicians responsible for the consequences of their actions. You may be entitled to significant compensation for your medical malpractice case.