A failure to diagnose an ailment correctly puts the patient’s life and health at great risk. While no one is infallible, medical personnel have a duty to practice medicine in as safe a manner as possible. This means remaining up-to-date with illnesses, conditions, treatments and diagnostic tools.

Many New Jersey residents want to take a proactive approach to diagnostic procedures, perhaps to avoid a misdiagnosis whenever possible. Fortunately, you can do your part to ensure your diagnosis is as accurate as possible.

Here are a few simple things that New Jersey patients can do to improve physician accuracy when diagnosing health problems.

— Learn your family health history and inform your caregivers about potential hereditary conditions. This will help medical staff know how much testing they need to conduct.

— Always get a second opinion. Many doctors suggest that patients seek not just a diagnostic second opinion, but a full and fresh look at your symptoms, health history and other relevant issues.

— Understand that tests are not always accurate. Urge your physician to keep investigating your symptoms and ask him or her to look for additional ways to confirm a diagnosis.

— Always communicate with your caregivers and ask questions. This includes your regular doctor and any health professional to which you are referred. Make sure that you have your doctor’s full attention and do not be afraid to ask even seemingly obvious questions.

Failure to diagnose can be very serious. It could mean that have been given the wrong medication and the wrong treatment plan, causing you additional health problems while your original condition goes untreated. If you have already suffered due to a misdiagnosis, an attorney can guide you toward the right path upon which to pursue justice for your injuries.

Source: KevinMD.com, “5 ways to avoid a misdiagnosis,” accessed Oct. 15, 2015