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Each year more than 12 million people around the country are impacted by diagnostic errors. The statistics are especially disturbing when it comes to cancer: as many as 44 percent of cancers are misdiagnosed.
For some patients, it starts with an inconclusive test result, leading them to visit multiple doctors in an attempt to find a conclusive answer. In the meantime, the condition could be getting worse while patients miss out on treatments and medications that could help alleviate symptoms and even cure the disease.
Patients pay emotional and financial costs when attempting to find a medical answers. Trying to work through a complex medical system can be frustrating and can also start a chain of costly medical bills for services and treatments that don’t actually help the patient.
Without a clear diagnosis, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion from another physician. Many insurers will cover the fees for a second opinion and, under California law, HMOs must pay for a second consultation.
When there are multiple symptoms in play and you have received an inconclusive result from your primary care physician, don’t settle for insufficient information. While having a primary care physician serve as the central depository for your medical information may be a good start, sometimes a specialist may be the best option for a specific diagnosis.
The failure to diagnose a medical condition that could lead to serious complications, a worsened condition or even death may entitle you or a loved one to compensation for the effects of the error. A legal professional who is experienced in medical malpractice lawsuits may be able to help you navigate the course if compensation is in order.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “How patients with an inconclusive diagnosis should proceed,” Lisa Zamosky, May 18, 2014