With some medical conditions, getting a proper diagnosis is the biggest battle. Without the right diagnosis, patients cannot receive the treatment they need. While there are medical conditions that are indeed very difficult to diagnosis, sometimes errors are made in diagnostic testing, which can lead physicians to misdiagnose their patients. If you are a patient who has been misdiagnosed, it may be due to diagnostic errors. Here's what you need to know.
Wrong Diagnostic Tests
When physicians examine patients and listen to their complaints, they develop a list of possible medical conditions that could be causing problems. This list is used to order diagnostic testing. Sometimes, the wrong diagnostic tests are ordered. Other times, the physician orders the right diagnostic test but the wrong one is performed. Therefore, one of the first things to investigate is whether or not the diagnostic testing that was requested was correct. If so, the next thing to investigate is whether or not the requested diagnostic test was the one that was actually performed.
Another issue that can be problematic and result in an incorrect diagnosis is when human errors are made when reading the test results. Sometimes, people are so focused on looking for something particular that they miss something very obvious. This is known as inattentional blindness. For example, if a radiologist reads imaging for a possible multiple sclerosis diagnosis, they can be so focused on looking for signs of multiple sclerosis that they may miss signs of cancer. In fact, a study was conducted on 24 credentialed radiologists who were shown images of CT scans of lung tissue. In one image, the study inserted the image of a gorilla to see how many radiologists would spot the obvious anomaly. Alarmingly, 20 out of 24 radiologists did not see the gorilla in the imaging.
Faulty diagnostic equipment may also cause a misdiagnosis. Medical equipment requires calibration, testing, and maintenance on a continuing schedule. Equipment should meet the specifications and requirements of the original equipment manufacturer and the Food and Drug Administration and the International Organization for Standardization. Without ongoing procedures to ensure the accuracy of medical diagnostic equipment, errors can be made when reading results given by the equipment.
A medical malpractice lawyer, like one from Shaevitz Shaevitz & Kotzamanis, can hire a medical expert to conduct an evaluation to determine if any of these situations led to a misdiagnosis of your medical condition. The results of the findings can then be used in a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault party.