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A patient’s role in preventing a medical misdiagnosis

People rely on their doctors every day in Washington to help them in making qualified decisions about their health that will enable them to overcome unwanted symptoms and maintain a healthy well-being. However, when a doctor sees dozens of patients each day, each with varying medical histories and symptoms, it is not unlikely that misdiagnosis could occur. While health care providers are encouraged to implement practices that will enable them to make a thorough diagnosis, patients can also be advocates for their own well-being to prevent the chances of being misdiagnosed.

Certain symptoms could indicate a variety of illnesses depending on their severity, how long the patient has been experiencing the symptoms, the patient’s medical history, whether or not the patient has participated in activities that worsened their condition and the combination of symptoms they are having. A doctor that understands the importance of making an accurate diagnosis, will take the time to listen to their patient and understand when and under what condition the symptoms were first noticed. Sometimes, making a diagnosis will require tests, subsequent visits and regular communication between doctor and patient to identify how various symptoms are connected.

According to webmd.com, patients can play a critical role in their well-being and aid in their doctor’s ability to make an accurate diagnosis by maintaining their medical history. They should be aware of the diseases that other blood relatives have experienced and how these could potentially affect them. Being able to confidently provide this information can be invaluable in a doctor’s ability to identify a treatment option that will be appropriate.

While a misdiagnosis may initially not appear as a serious offense, a delayed diagnosis because of incorrect assumptions can waste critical time in helping a sick patient to acquire full health. If too much time lapses, the outcome could cause severe injury with long-term effects. Sciencedaily.com reports that diagnostic errors affect at least 12 million patients in America each year.