The danger of misdiagnosis and medical malpractice in the healthcare industry is alarming, and it is far from a new issue. Over the last few years alone, these errors, which frequently lead to medical malpractice cases, have garnered a lot of attention in the media, putting patients on red alert when it comes to the matter of their precious health. In 2015, the National Academy of Medicine announced that most people will receive an incorrect diagnosis at least once in their lives. Research shows that an estimated 100,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled due to an incorrect or delayed diagnosis.
Advocating for Your Health
While reports such as these continue to surface each year, they may lead one to ponder the degree of control a person has over their own health, especially when it feels as if you are at the mercy of the physicians you turn to for answers. Thankfully, you are not powerless when it comes to protecting yourself from misdiagnosis. Here are a few practical, effective ways you can advocate for your health:
- Listen to word of mouth. Referrals and recommendations can be valuable tools when selecting a doctor. If more than one person in your community or neighborhood has good things to say about a particular physician, it may be worth making an appointment. Talk to your neighbors, co-workers, and local acquaintances to find out which doctors they normally visit, how long they have been seeing them, and what their overall experiences have been with that provider.
- Ask for second opinions. Do not be afraid to seek a second opinion after receiving an initial diagnosis. Instinct goes a long way in protecting your own health. According to experts, quality healthcare professionals will support that decision. If something does not sound or feel right at the time you are diagnosed, take the initiative to consult with another physician, then compare notes. It may require more footwork on your part, but it can be well worth the effort when your health is on the line.
- Do your homework. Doing some research before you consult with your first-choice physician can also help you protect your health. This does not mean you should spend hours on the Internet trying to diagnose yourself before you visit the doctor, but it can help to look into any symptoms you are experiencing and learn about some potential causes. Jot some notes down, then take them with you to discuss your thoughts and concerns with your doctor.
Contact a North Carolina Misdiagnosis Injury Lawyer
If you find yourself on the fence with a physician’s diagnosis and discover you are experiencing health issues that occurred because of the medical care you have received, you should consider seeking legal counsel from an attorney who has experience in the area of medical malpractice. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to file a claim against the doctor if negligence was a factor.
Consulting with a North Carolina medical malpractice attorney can provide you with the resources you need to protect your health in the event of a medical error. Call Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp today to schedule a free case evaluation and find out what legal recourse you may have.