According to a study by HealthGrades, the most frequent cause of patient safety incidents is a failure to rescue, which is caused by a delayed, missed, or incorrect diagnosis. The Journal of the American Medical Association states that misdiagnosis incidents occur in about 150 cases out of every 1,000. In a survey of 6,000 doctors, 96 percent believed these errors are preventable. There are several steps that a patient in Nevada can take to increase the likelihood of a full recovery.
Patients are participants in medical treatment
A patient typically has a role in the process of identifying a medical issue. Disclosing all symptom information, regardless of how trivial it may seem, can help the doctor to fully analyze the problem. A complete medical record is also important, and should be provided to the physician before a treatment plan is discussed. Often, medical tests are necessary, and failing to complete these can lead to delayed treatment of severe issues such as cancer or heart problems. Although it is important for patient to avoid self-diagnosis, gathering evidence-based data can provide facts about the medical issue. These materials can help in the development of proactive questions so that both the patient and the doctor can work together to ensure that the correct treatment plan is developed.
Help is available when a patient is unsure of a diagnosis
When the doctor diagnoses a serious disease or recommends a surgery, a patient may benefit from a second opinion for confirmation. A third opinion may even be necessary if there is conflicting information from the first two. Proper treatment cannot be prescribed unless the medical issue is correctly identified, and these cases often lead to serious medical errors.
When more than one specialist is involved in the treatment of a disease, it is wise to request that the primary care doctor coordinate the care. A lack of communication between physicians may result in the overlooking of a critical medical issue. Likewise, specialists may not be aware of the prescriptions written by the patient’s primary care physician, and may prescribe medicine that causes a severe or fatal reaction. Some prescriptions are harmful when taken together. Pharmacists have specific training in the ways that medicines interact, and they are qualified to provide information and advice on the medications before they are filled.
Diagnostic errors may stem from a problem in the medical system, or they can be the result of faulty reasoning on the part of the physician. Regardless of the source, all branches of medicine are subject to errors. Victims of medical malpractice can benefit from the advice of a personal injury attorney familiar with the laws and processes of ensuring adequate compensation.