Medical Malpractice Diagnostic Errors and Second Opinions
To ensure proper medical treatment, a growing number of hospitals and medical professionals now recommend that patients who receive a diagnosis for a serious disease obtain a second opinion. Our Atlanta medical malpractice attorneys agree that this is an effective way to help prevent unnecessary treatment, or the failure to properly treat a disease.
A wrong diagnosis, or misdiagnosis, happens far too often in the United States. These errors can occur for a number of reasons. For instance, many diagnostic errors are caused because healthcare providers, such pathologists and radiologists, interpret scans or x-rays incorrectly. Other times, our medical negligence attorneys discover errors that are caused because doctors are so set on, or convinced of, one type of diagnosis that they ignore other possible causes of symptoms. Whatever the reason, a wrong, or missed, diagnosis and lead to unnecessary complications, or worsening, of the patient's condition, and even death. If your symptoms continue even after treatment, you probably want to seek a second opinion.
In some situations, health professionals absolutely recommend that patients get a second opinion, especially if the diagnosis involves cancer or the treatment requires a risky and invasive procedure. For instance when a patient receives a diagnosis of cancer, he or she should always get a second opinion. According to officials at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, approximately one quarter of patients who arrive at the hospital with a diagnosis of cancer later receive a different diagnosis altogether. Sometimes doctors misdiagnose a disease, while in other cases there may be an error in diagnosing the intensity or severity of the disease. This can dramatically impact the kind of treatment that the patient needs to undergo, and the long-term effects on their overall health and wellness.
It is also especially important to get second opinions for commonly misdiagnosed diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. According to one study by the National Jewish Health in Denver, 50% of patients diagnosed with chronic pulmonary disease had earlier been diagnosed with untreated asthma. These types of statistics are very concerning.
Second opinions can make a significant difference to a person's diagnosis, especially when they automatically lead to different recommendations or treatment options. However, regardless of whether or not a second opinion was obtained, patients deserve accurate and quality medical treatment, and should be able to rely on their health care providers to treat them properly.
The timing of when a patient obtains a second opinion may affect when a claim for medical malpractice can be filed. Consulting with an attorney that is experienced in medical malpractice can help you ensure that you take timely action to protect your rights. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a doctor, nurse, or physician assistant’s error, contact the Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers at Katz Wright Fleming Dodson & Mildenhall LLC today at (404) 460-0101.
All information is kept strictly confidential, and there is no fee for your initial consultation. We handle medical error cases across the state of Georgia, including Columbus, Johns Creek, Atlanta, Marietta, and Conyers.