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What you should know about medical misdiagnosis

Whether you visit an outpatient clinic physician to inquire about an ongoing illness or take a trip to the emergency room for a more sudden incident, you place your trust in the medical staff who are taking care of you.  These physicians, nurses and assistants are trained, educated and licensed to provide premium care to patients seeking a medical diagnosis. Yet, there is no guarantee that you will leave these settings with the right diagnosis of your condition or a diagnosis at all.

According to an article published in BMJ Quality & Safety, nearly 12 million American adults visiting these types of medical settings are misdiagnosed every year. This equates to approximately one in every 20 adult patients. Furthermore, half of these incidents result in serious patient harm. What is to blame for these surprising rates?

As doctors are pressed to see more patients in a limited amount of time, they may not be able to give you the individualized attention you deserve. In addition, outpatient clinic and emergency room physicians may not have your full medical history, which could alert them to an ongoing problem. Physicians may order the wrong type of screening test or could misread the results once they come in. Miscommunication between medical professionals can also contribute to a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.

If you have received the wrong diagnosis, you may be undergoing treatment for an illness you do not have. During this time, the actual ailment may grow in intensity. It may be best to seek a second opinion.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.

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