How Diagnostic Errors Affect Your Health

When you pay your doctor a visit, you’re under the impression that you’re going to get taken care of, and that you’ll receive sound medical advice. Certainly, medical doctors and other healthcare practitioners alike have spent years studying in the field so that trust and expectations are all well-placed.

However, as much as everybody else is, your healthcare practitioners are not perfect. Errors are inevitable, no matter how much the community thrives to make healthcare flawless. But this doesn’t mean you should lose all your confidence in science and medicine.

Nevertheless, diagnostic errors may sound extremely frightening. Especially when it’s about you or your family member’s overall health. Being diagnosed with a dreadful disease is depressing enough, but hearing that there was a misdiagnosis is a different story. Mixed emotions will start to arise, whatever the mistake is, even if it’s for the better, the stress and anxiety that the misdiagnosis brought into your life isn’t that easy to forget. The psychological effects may become a life-long struggle.

With that being said, here are some of the serious effects a diagnostic error can bring into your life and health:

  1. It Could Be Lethal

It might sound too daunting to place this in number one but to put it out bluntly, misdiagnosis is deadly. Imagine having a terminal illness that your doctor missed diagnosing. Not only did you miss your chance of getting the proper care early on to mitigate its effects, but you may have also gotten medication that could’ve worsened your condition.

In addition, misdiagnosis can lead to irreversible health repercussions to the general public. For instance, a person having difficulty of breathing diagnosed for a respiratory tract infection was prescribed of antibiotics. Only to find out after weeks of taking it that they’ve been misdiagnosed and are now in the risk of antibiotic resistance.

Generally speaking, diagnostic errors pose major health issues that affect not only the individual in question but primarily the entire healthcare industry. Fortunately, there are a large number of law firms that are ready to assist patients who have experienced it. If you or your loved ones suffered from diagnostic errors, it’s advisable to seek the help of legal professionals to find more options on how to obtain justice.

  1. It’s Costly

Often than not, diagnostic errors affect you and your family psychologically and financially. Being hospitalized and treated based on the initial diagnosis is already expensive, and to hear that there was a misdiagnosis and you’re left with no choice but to go back to square one after spending a fortune being treated for the wrong reasons. To make it worse, financial resources may be depleting, and the stress that it brings is another serious factor that can easily worsen your condition.

Furthermore, the stress of being hospitalized and being absent from work is another debilitating and indirect effect of diagnostic errors. For instance, you may have incurred a number of absences and decreased your expected salary because you were hospitalized for a certain period that should’ve been prevented if the diagnosis has been correct.

And while it’s true that almost everyone has health insurance, policies can only cover as much. Resources are still bound to get used up each time you get hospitalized. All the more reason why anyone shouldn’t be misdiagnosed. It would be best to consult a professional to know if your case happens to fall under the category of medical malpractice and if you can file for a just compensation.

  1. It’s Hard To Know That You’ve Been Misdiagnosed

One of the trickiest things about diagnostic errors is the fact that it’s difficult to know that you have been misdiagnosed. Since healthcare is bound on the basis of trust between primary care physicians and their clients, patients are confident that they’re getting sound medical advice.

And while there’s an option of getting a second opinion, it’s just another expenditure on top of the previous check-up. For that reason, this ‘complacency’ isn’t something anyone can easily blame on the patient since medical fees are just way too expensive.

That said, reporting misdiagnosis is often disregarded, which results in late considerations and changes in the treatment of the patient, which most of the time leads to health deterioration and death. In fact, about 5% of adults experience diagnostic errors each year and about 4% do not get informed about the mistakes in their test results.

As opposed to popular belief, diagnostic errors are not simply incorrect diagnoses, but also include conditions or results that weren’t properly explained to the patient. Besides, transparency is one of the factors that strengthen the patient-doctor relationship. Without honesty to back-up transparency, this relationship may truly weaken with the increasing number of diagnostic errors.

Bottom line:

While diagnostic errors are inevitable, it’s not enough reason for the public to completely lose their trust in science and medicine. With the proper intervention and reporting, diagnostic errors can be lessened and would help rebuild the trust and confidence of the patients.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].