Largely to maximize revenue, today’s doctors see more patients than ever before. In fact, most doctors are so rushed that they only listen to their patients for eleven seconds before interrupting and redirecting them. In that short time span, it’s pretty much impossible to gather any evidence of the patient’s symptoms. So, most doctors just go with their gut.
Making matters worse, many doctors do not order a full range of diagnostic tests. Some are afraid that the insurance company will refuse to pay for all the tests. So, diagnosing an illness is little more than an evidence-based hunch.
In many cases, that works out all right. But in many other cases, misdiagnosis results. What are some claims that Rockford medical malpractice attorneys see the most?
Many doctors associate heart attacks with older people who have heart problems. Additionally, many doctors look for red flags during their brief diagnostic visits, like chest pains. But not all heart attack victims have pre-existing cardiac conditions. Additionally, not all victims, especially women, suffer serious chest pains during a heart attack. So, in many cases, a doctor may say the patient simply had indigestion. The longer a serious heart condition goes undiagnosed, the more difficult it is to correct, and the larger the damage award becomes.
In terms of misdiagnosis, cancer is a lot like heart attacks. Many doctors consider some forms of cancer, especially lung and skin cancer, to be lifestyle problems. For example, doctors almost never diagnose non-smokers with lung cancer. Moreover, many doctors associate cancer with family history. Similarly, most physicians will not diagnose cancer if the disease is not in the patient’s genetic makeup. Cancer’s survival rate has increased significantly since the 1990s, and the cost of cancer treatments has skyrocketed during this period. Once again, a delayed diagnosis makes the disease harder to beat.
There is a big difference between situational depression and clinical depression, and it’s not always easy to tell the difference. That’s especially true if the doctor does not listen to the patient’s complaints and does not run follow up tests. If the patient has no genetic history of depression, the problem is even worse. So, many people who need medical help do not get it straight away because the doctor, essentially, tells them to walk it off. The families of these victims are usually the ones who suffer the most.
Chronic pain illnesses are among the most difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are so generic. Many doctors tell fibromyalgia patients that they have arthritis or another, more common condition. Arthritis treatments will do nothing for a fibromyalgia patient. In fact, those treatments could actually make their conditions worse.
Most people, including most doctors, believe that only older people have strokes. But that’s simply not true. Unfortunately, when a stroke victim under 60 sees a doctor, the physician usually diagnoses something like vertigo or even alcohol intoxication. So, the lack of oxygen to the brain continues. It does not take long before permanent brain damage sets in due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen). If that happens, both the doctor and the hospital or clinic which employs the doctor could be legally responsible for damages.
Work with Assertive Attorneys
Misdiagnosis is a significant problem that affects millions of families in America. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Rockford, contact Fisk & Monteleone, Ltd. We routinely handle matters in Winnebago County and nearby jurisdictions.