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How to avoid being a victim of a misdiagnosis in Michigan

Misdiagnosis is a major cause of medical malpractice here in Michigan. In fact, it was recently reported that almost 40 percent of medical malpractice awards here in the U.S. are related to an incorrect, missed or delayed diagnosis. Diagnostic errors are not only the most common type of medical error, but also one of the most dangerous.

Misdiagnoses may often be the result of a doctor's failure to meet the standards of the profession, or general incompetence or negligence. However, in some cases patients may be contributing to the likelihood of a misdiagnosis. A recent news column suggested several things that patients can do themselves to prevent a misdiagnosis.

  1. Communicate your symptoms clearly.
  2. Research and share your family medical history with your physician.
  3. Come up with a list of questions you have for your doctor, and make sure your doctor answers them. Do not let him or her rush you.
  4. After a diagnosis, ask your doctor how he or she came to it. Could it be anything else and what has been ruled out?
  5. If you are working with multiple doctors, share all relevant information with all of them--diagnoses, test results, medical history. Maybe one doctor will see something that another did not.
  6. Call for your lab results. Do not wait by the phone.
  7. It is always important to obtain a second opinion. If your doctor objects to this, he or she may not be a very good doctor.

While there are a number of things people can do to avoid misdiagnoses, victims of misdiagnoses should not blame themselves. Those who have been injured as a result of missed, delayed or incorrect diagnoses may want to talk to a medical malpractice attorney about whether it is a good idea to file a medical malpractice claim.

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer, "Tips for helping your doctors avoid misdiagnosis: Drs. Oz and Roizen," June 4, 2013

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