Once upon a time, the doctor-patient relationship was something of a partnership. That’s no longer the case. Today, doctors listen to their patients for about eleven seconds before interrupting or redirecting them. In such a brief exchange, it’s impossible for the doctor to learn anything meaningful about the patient’s symptoms.
Compounding this problem, many doctors do not perform a full array of diagnostic tests. They often fear that the insurance company will refuse to pay for them. So, instead, they often go with their instincts.
This combination often leads to misdiagnosis, which is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice in Florida. These mistakes are all too frequent, especially if the conditions listed below are involved.
When the brain does not get enough oxygen, even for a few moments, the patient often suffers severe physical trauma. Most doctors consider strokes to be an age-related condition instead of a lifestyle or genetic condition. If younger people present stroke symptoms, doctors often diagnose vertigo or even alcohol intoxication. The recent stroke-related death of 52-year-old actor Luke Perry may raise awareness among both doctors and patients. So, this condition will hopefully drop off of misdiagnosis lists, but time will tell.
Many doctors diagnose stroke patients with less serious conditions, and do a great disservice to their patients. The opposite is true with regard to migraines. These persistent severe headaches make it difficult or impossible to function at work or home. However, instead of recognizing migraines and prescribing appropriate treatment, many doctors push the panic button and diagnose something like a brain tumor. The patient must then endure a series of extremely aggressive, and extremely unnecessary, medical treatments.
Multiple misdiagnoses may occur in this context. First, many doctors consider cancer to be a lifestyle or genetic illness. They hardly ever diagnose non-smokers with lung cancer or people with no family history of blood cancer with leukemia. Second, many doctors misdiagnose the type of cancer. For example, doctors may say that a lung cancer patient has adenocarcinoma, which is the most common type of lung cancer, instead of mesothelioma, which is a rare and aggressive form of lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma treatments may do little to slow the growth of mesothelioma, so the patients may be worse off than they were before.
This condition is a rare and serious illness which can strike anyone at any time, especially people who travel to certain parts of the country or world. In that brief eleven second time period, previous travel patterns almost never come up. So, doctors frequently say that people with lyme disease are suffering from mononucleosis or flu.
This umbrella term includes conditions like lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions are already difficult to diagnose, as they have no signature symptoms and no profile in terms of the age or health of the victims. Patients who complain of general fatigue or pain in certain parts of the body may be diagnosed with depression or a viral illness. As a result, they do not receive the treatment they need.
In all these cases, victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. That usually means money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Given the high duty of care in the doctor-patient relationship, additional punitive damages are often available as well.
Connect with Dedicated Attorneys
Medical misdiagnosis is a serious problem in Florida. For a free consultation with an experienced Brandon medical malpractice lawyer, contact Reed & Reed. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).