Why do doctors often fail to diagnose medical conditions?

Each day across the United States, any number of patients will be wrongfully diagnosed with one condition when they actually have another. There are often one of three reasons misdiagnoses occur.

In one type of situation, doctors may limit their analysis of symptoms only to ones presented by the patient. Instead of asking more probing questions to see if they're presenting with something else, doctors quickly seek the simplest potential cause.

In other cases, familiarity with certain conditions may predispose a doctor to diagnose them. A doctor may assume that one patient presenting with certain symptoms is suffering from the same illness as another without doing further investigation.

Finally, in some situations a doctor may rush to different judgments about a patient's lifestyle or behaviors. The end result is that their diagnosis based on the way the patients speaks, looks or dresses.

One researcher working on a 2013 study on behalf of Veterans Affairs found that 80 percent of all misdiagnoses had to do with poor communication between the patient and their doctor.

To avoid problems with communication that leads to misdiagnoses, the lead researcher on the study recommends that patients arrive early to their appointments. Doctors are often overbooked and are short on time. By arriving on time, it ensures that you and others will have your full allotted amount of time with the doctor.

Also, if you're going to bring up a new concern during the appointment, then it's in your best interest to let the receptionist know when you initially schedule your appointment. Then ensures that more time can be allotted and that the doctor knows what to expect.

It's always good to bring a trusted friend or family member with you to your appointment. They can be helpful in listening to what the doctor says or in taking notes as to the next steps to follow.

You should take time before you come into your appointment to document your symptoms and any medications you may taking, as well as the dosages for them.

It's key to ask for a diagnosis. If more tests are ordered, then it's important to ask probing questions as to why. You may also find it helpful to get a second opinion.

If your health declined after a doctor improperly diagnosed you, then a Tucson failure to diagnose attorney can advise you of your right to file a lawsuit in your case.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Mistakes even good doctors make," accessed April 06, 2018

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