Misdiagnosis is a continuing problem in the health care industry. In fact, one report claims 39 percent of medical malpractice payouts in the U.S. stem from a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis. This percentage would make sense considering the fact that as these types of diagnostic errors tend to be among the most dangerous for patients.
When it comes to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, there are a number of factors that can play a role. These factors fall on the shoulders of both the doctors and patients.
For example, obesity can increase the chances of misdiagnosis. In fact, one study found that one-third of obese patients were misdiagnosed when it came to asthma. This is due to the fact that asthma symptoms are similar to the breathlessness that many overweight patients experience.
However, with obesity rates continuing to rise in this country, one would imagine that more can be done from a medical standpoint to account for this patient trend and to know what other signs to look for.
Weight aside though, regardless of gender, age or background, there are still a number of mistakes made in hospital rooms and doctor's offices across the country due to physician issues, such as being overworked and not individualizing medical procedures and tests.
This is why patients are encouraged to also get involved in their health. This means communicating all symptoms, mentioning family disease history and asking questions after the diagnosis, like why other possibilities were ruled out.
Taking these steps may not necessarily stop a misdiagnosis from happening, especially when it comes down to an overworked doctor who is rushing through patients, but it can reduce the likelihood.