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Misdiagnosis can allow cancer to worsen and shorten lives

Patients and society in general are seemingly starting to question the quality of their medical treatment more these days. They might seek second or third opinions. Maybe the will do a thorough examination of their doctor's background. The threat of medical mistakes and the toll that they can take on patients' lives is real, and patients are trying to do their part to avoid becoming a victim of medical malpractice.

But there is only so much that a patient can and should have to do in order to avoid getting injured, or even dying because of the errors of medical professionals. Doctors, nurses, etc. are, after all, those with the education and training in the medical field. That training is supposed to lead to proper treatment. Even with their backgrounds, studies indicate that patients are dying and suffering due to misdiagnosis. 

A previous post on our Pennsylvania discussed this matter, but the following are a couple of examples of negligence victims whose quality of life and even potential duration of life have been negatively impacted because of delayed diagnoses or misdiagnoses:

A 52-year-old woman suffered from extreme back pain. Various medical professionals diagnosed her with fibromyalgia. Time passed. The pain got worse, and the woman was finally correctly diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer. The delayed diagnoses may have cut several years off her already short life expectancy. 

An elderly man was misdiagnosed with acid reflux after complaining of a sore throat. He was actually suffering from throat cancer, which progressed so seriously that he had to have his voice box removed. 

These are just a couple of examples of how failed diagnoses are severely hurting patients in the U.S. A patient doesn't need to have a surgical horror story in order to be a victim of medical malpractice. Doctors need to ask the right questions and perform the right tests. If they fail to do so, an illness and injury can worsen and leave a patient with little or no options for treatment. 

 

Source: The Washington Post, "Misdiagnosis is more common than drug errors or wrong-site surgery," Sandra G. Boodman, May 6, 2013  

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