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Misdiagnoses continue to be common problem in health care

For many people in Providence, going to see a doctor can be a stressful experience, especially when a person is having unusual symptoms. The last thing they think about is whether they are going to be a victim of medical misdiagnosis, especially with a serious illness like cancer. However, cancer misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis issues in general are more common than the average patient realizes, putting them at possible risk when that patient fails to receive the treatment that they need.

A number of studies have shown that more problems exist with misdiagnosis than with surgical errors or drug mistakes. One study points out the dangers that exist when a patient is the victim of failure to detect cancer on the part of medical professionals. These dangers include treatment delays, unnecessary procedures, and worsened condition.

One physician was a victim of misdiagnosis when his throat cancer was mistaken for acid reflux. The man now speaks in a whisper because the delay in diagnosing the cancer resulted in the need to remove his voice box. His is just one of many stories of people who have had additionally suffering because doctors don’t follow up with test results or assume the symptoms are simply a minor ailment.

The medical profession should start paying attention to this problem and look for ways to eliminate it. Patients seek medical help in order to feel better and it is the responsibility of medical staff to provide them with the best care possible. When a doctor fails in this, a patient may want to consult with an experienced attorney to determine their next course of action.

Source: Hartford Currant, “Misdiagnosis: More Common Than Drug Errors or Wrong-Site Surgery,” Sandra G. Boodman, May 18, 2013

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