Any time an Ottawa doctor or other Ottawa healthcare professional makes a diagnostic error or reaches an incorrect medical conclusion about what is wrong with you, you may have a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or healthcare provider. It has been estimated that up to 7.5 percent of Canadian patients experience some form of diagnostic error in their lifetimes.
Many reasons and circumstances can be blamed for a diagnostic error. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Lack of information. Patients sometimes do not provide accurate or complete medical history when they visit a doctor. Consequently, when your doctor is not aware of significant symptoms and signs that you are suffering from, he or she may not be able to accurately diagnose your problem.
- Multiple doctors. Any time you seek treatment from several different doctors, problems in communication of information can develop between those various health care professionals. If each doctor has only one piece of information and doesn’t communicate with your other doctors, then diagnostic errors can easily occur.
- Diagnostic inertia. If one of your doctors doesn’t conduct a thorough examination of you and creates a complete differential diagnosis list, then your other doctors may follow the same incorrect path created by your initial misdiagnosis.
- Failure of your doctor to order or follow-up on test results. Any time your doctor fails to order appropriate tests or follow-up on the results of a test that he or she has ordered, your safety can be jeopardized.
Ways You Can Minimize Your Chances of Suffering Injury from a Diagnostic Error
While ultimately it is your doctor’s duty to do everything he or she can to avoid a misdiagnosis, there are some preventative measures you can take as a patient to prevent diagnostic errors. Some of the things patients can do to help prevent diagnostic errors are as follows.
- Once you have been examined by your doctor, ask him or her for a differential diagnosis.
- Ask your doctor to inform you of any other reasonable alternative diagnose for the symptoms you are suffering from.
- If you are uncomfortable questioning you doctor, ask a family member or close friend to act as your advocate and ask questions for you. Take notes concerning these conversations.
- Create a list of your symptoms, record the time of day these symptoms occur and how long they last. Provide your doctor with this list.
- When you visit a doctor for the first time, prepare a written medical history of past medical problems, medications you take, allergies you have and past surgeries and conditions.
- Follow-up with your doctor about any tests ordered for you. Diagnostic errors often occur when doctors fail to read test results or fail to check on the results if they do not arrive as expected.
- Go online and research your condition yourself to educate yourself about your medical condition so you can communicate intelligently with your doctor.
- Get a second opinion about your diagnosis.
- Ask your doctor to repeat your diagnostic test if you are concerned that your doctor may be wrong in his or her diagnosis.
- Maintain full and open communication with your doctor. Don’t shy away from approaching your doctor with questions or concerns.
An Ottawa Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Assist You with a Diagnostic Error Claim
You know your body better than anyone else. Remember that the more information you can provide to your doctor about yourself, the better. However, if you or a loved one suffer from injuries that may be the result of diagnostic error, you may be entitled to sue the doctor or healthcare provider for your injuries in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Consultation with an Ottawa personal injury lawyer who is experienced in medical malpractice is your best bet for receiving any compensation for your injuries you may be entitled to. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer if you think you may have been the victim of diagnostic error or other medical related injury so that lawyer can review your medical records and assist you in determining whether or not your doctor or medical team was negligent in your diagnosis and treatment.