Approximately one in ten autopsies uncovers a heretofore-unknown medical condition that could have changed the person’s healthcare regimen. If you’re not yet a cadaver, you might want some insight on what to do when you’ve been misdiagnosed at a medical clinic.
Obtain Another Medical Opinion
If you’ve seen two doctors and one says you were misdiagnosed, that means one of them may be wrong. Get an opinion from another physician and disclose nothing about the other two diagnoses. It’s a small world and you never know which physicians might be golfing buddies in their off hours, so refrain from mentioning anything about a possible misdiagnosis.
Make sure that there’s been no error on your part, such as neglecting to disclose information that might be germane to the diagnosis. Sometimes, past behaviors and habits may have a bearing. For example, if you used to sunbathe for hours each day but no longer do so, that might have a bearing on a diagnosis of skin cancer.
If you’re contemplating seeking the advice of an attorney for the purpose of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you’ll need to prove that:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor exhibited negligence and/or incompetence
- The negligence caused harm to the patient
If you lack any of these, particularly the second one, there may be insufficient evidence to proceed with a lawsuit. An improper diagnosis does not of itself indicate incompetence or negligence. Rather, there must be a clear indication that the doctor performed in a manner that is or was substandard to normal procedures or in a manner that another competent doctor would not have. This is called the medical standard of care. You also need to ensure that the statute of limitations has not expired, which is one year in many states.
Proper Self Care
If you’ve been misdiagnosed, be sure to seek competent care so that the severity of your health issue doesn’t escalate. If the misdiagnosis caused emotional trauma, be sure to seek the care of a therapist or other mental health professional so that you don’t spiral into depression. Don’t be embarrassed if you need psychological help. Trauma is traumatic and you need to practice good self care and not worry about what others may think.
Make sure you obtain paper copies of your medical records. With the advent of digitized information, it’s easy to change what’s in the computer. There shouldn’t be a cost associated with obtaining a copy of your medical records, but if there is, it’s well worth it. A paper copy of a report that was generated in the hospital or by the doctor’s office is a necessary piece of evidence in a lawsuit.
When you have your medical records, make sure that all the pages are there. It may sound extreme, but medical offices have been known to “lose” pertinent pages of a report and those may be the pages you need.
For the most part, doctors are dedicated, overworked, compassionate individuals who take good care of their patients. Occasionally, however, others enter medical practice for motivations that are less than altruistic. Be diligent about your care and don’t be afraid to speak out or seek another opinion.