You Have A Right To Recovery

3 reasons why diagnostic errors are such a common issue

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Medical Malpractice

Someone who notices concerning medical symptoms might make an appointment with their primary care physician. If the symptoms are severe enough, people may seek out evaluation and treatment at urgent care facilities or emergency rooms. Patients dealing with concerning medical issues require the expertise of a licensed medical professional to establish what causes their symptoms and obtain appropriate treatment.

Doctors have never had access to better diagnostic resources than they enjoy currently. There are imaging tests capable of pinpointing tumors and fractures inside the body. Laboratories can genetically sequence cancer and authoritatively affirm the presence of certain pathogens in someone’s bloodstream. Despite all of those incredible resources, diagnostic mistakes continue to be a common issue. The following are some of the reasons that medical professionals frequently misdiagnose patients or fail to diagnose them.

Inadequate time with each patient

Medical employers including corporate medical offices and hospitals often impose very strict job performance requirements on physicians and other professionals. There is an expectation that they should see a certain number of patients per hour or per shift. That pressure can limit how much time a physician spends with a patient and how closely they listen to a patient’s concerns. Doctors with limited time to commit to a patient may rush to a diagnostic conclusion, leading to medical consequences for the patient.

Insufficient medical training

Many physicians, especially those who have been in their profession for decades, may have a harder time diagnosing some patients compared to others. For example, women present significantly different symptoms than men do when they experience a stroke or a cardiac event like a heart attack. A lack of familiarity with the ways that some conditions present in certain segments of the population can lead to doctors reaching the wrong conclusion or failing to diagnose someone altogether.

The internal bias of the physician

Statistically, certain groups of people have substantially higher chances of doctors failing to diagnose them than others. Female patients may face bias in the form of doctors assuming that they exaggerate their symptoms when the opposite is often true. Doctors may also ignore the complaints of overweight patients and order them to lose weight instead of addressing their current symptoms. Regardless of what leads to a doctor making a significant diagnostic mistake comma the patient is often the one who pays the price. They either don’t receive the treatment that they require for their safety or may undergo unnecessary treatment that that could cause side effects.

If another reasonable doctor agrees that a physician did not follow the right diagnostic process, then a diagnostic error that causes harm might constitute medical malpractice. Filing a lawsuit against a doctor or medical facility for diagnostic errors can potentially benefit those affected by the failings of a licensed medical professional.