When you go to your doctor, there’s a reasonable expectation that they will do all they can to help you feel better. Unfortunately, that trust can sometimes make patients willing to follow bad advice without question. While it’s nice to have a good relationship with your doctor, it’s more important that you’re able to recognize these warning signs of medical malpractice.
Diagnosis Without Testing
A good diagnosis requires evidence. For example, a doctor cannot diagnose you with high cholesterol or diabetes without a blood test. Therefore, it’s essential to ask questions and make sure your doctor explains what they’re doing and what evidence they used to reach their diagnosis. Remember, a diagnosis without testing is usually an incomplete diagnosis.
Just as important is ensuring you understand the diagnosis. If you describe your symptoms and your doctor writes a prescription without explaining what you may be experiencing, it’s more likely that you were misdiagnosed due to medical negligence.
While testing is necessary, too much testing can be extremely expensive and even harmful to your health. If your doctor wants another X-ray or a CT scan every two weeks, it’s possible they’re ordering too much testing.
Additionally, testing should be progressive, increasing in detail as needed to get the full picture. For example, if you have a broken wrist, you’d typically expect a progression of X-ray -> CT Scan -> MRI. Even then, that depends on whether you need surgery or if the injury site is difficult to image properly.
These tests are all valuable, but they should only be used as needed. If you broke a bone, you probably don’t need weekly CT-Scans to see how you're progressing. Not only can that excessive radiation be harmful to your health, but excessive testing can be a sign of medical malpractice or even insurance fraud.
Excessive or Incorrect Medication
Most Americans take some kind of daily medication, but many don’t realize how a new prescription can impact their overall health.
Before starting a new medication, make sure your doctor has a full understanding of your medical history, current medications, and potential allergies. Each of these factors will determine how your body reacts to a new drug.
Be especially careful when starting new pain medications, such as opioids. If your doctor overprescribes pain relief, you could develop a dependency or even overdose.
Identifying a misdiagnosis early can be difficult as you may not realize anything’s wrong until your condition worsens. A misdiagnosis is exceptionally hazardous to your health as it means that the root cause of your symptoms isn’t being managed and may worsen. At the same time, the incorrect treatment and medications you receive could cause a negative reaction and make your condition worse.
Before the doctor diagnoses you with a serious or terminal condition, make sure they’ve gone over all the angles. If the diagnosis doesn’t account for your pre-existing conditions, family history, ethnic background, and current medications, it is an incomplete diagnosis.
Remember that medicine is science, and science is repeatable. If your doctor cannot replicate their findings or if another doctor cannot verify the diagnosis using the same information, it is more likely to be medical malpractice.
One of the most concerning signs of medical malpractice is when you follow all your doctor’s advice and you unexpectedly feel worse or need to go to the hospital. Hospitalization following treatment of a non-terminal ailment could be a sign of misdiagnosis, improper medication, or something worse.
That said, if you are diagnosed with a terminal illness, it may be wise to seek a second opinion before starting aggressive treatments. If you were incorrectly diagnosed, the destructiveness of chemotherapy and radiation could lead to a lifetime of preventable pain and suffering.
What Happens If You Identify Warning Signs of Medical Malpractice?
If you believe any of the warning signs above impacted you, or if you have reason to suspect you were the victim of medical malpractice, you should contact an attorney immediately. An experienced personal injury attorney knows how best to present the evidence to demonstrate medical negligence and help you obtain the damages you need to move forward and recover.
If you or someone you love believe experienced medical malpractice, we are here for you. If you’d like an experienced Florida personal injury attorney from Gunn Law Group P.A. to evaluate your case, call (813) 993-1448 or send us an email.