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What can I do to help prevent misdiagnosis?

It is not uncommon for Floridians to stress when they start feeling seriously ill or a significant amount of pain. Yet, many individuals live with the mantra that ignorance is bliss. This is a dangerous way to live, particularly in an age when medical advances have increased doctors' ability to treat even the most serious medical conditions. With that being said, though, many are still concerned with the frequency that doctors fail to properly diagnose their patients. Fortunately, there are certain steps that a patient can take to help curtail the risk of a missed diagnosis.

First, you should be sure to gather your medical records. You have a right to your medical records, and providing them to your doctor or specialist can give them a clearer picture of your health, which could help them more accurately diagnose your condition. Second, patients should be sure to document every symptom. A complete and accurate list gives your doctor a full picture of what is going on with you, thereby allowing him or her to better diagnose.

Third, when meeting with your doctor, you should be sure to describe your symptoms without drawing conclusions. If you conclude that your pain is caused by some condition, then your doctor may exclude other possibilities which could be the real cause. Fourth, be as specific as possible when describing your symptoms. Every detail helps, and you never know which piece of evidence could be the key to unlocking a proper diagnosis. Lastly, don't be afraid to ask questions. You are your own best advocate. So, if your doctor leaves a question unasked, then you should bring it up, as the doctor could be forgetting or may not have thought about it.

In the end though, despite how prepared you are when meeting with your doctor, there is always a chance that there could be a failure to diagnose. If this happens and you suffer harm as a result, then you may want to speak with an attorney to discuss your legal options.

Source: WebMD, "8 Ways to Help Your Doctor Make the Right Diagnosis," Leslie Pepper, accessed on Feb. 19, 2016

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