Experienced, licensed physicians can misread test results and misdiagnose patients. Several diseases have symptoms that are very similar, and some tests can provide false positives or inconclusive results. Therefore, patients in New Jersey are encouraged to take specific steps to identify the risks of misdiagnosis.
Getting a second or third opinion
Avoiding a misdiagnosis is accomplished when a person seeks a second or third opinion from another doctor in the same specialty. Different doctors use different tools and techniques to look over patients with the same problems. While some doctors will not seek consultations from more qualified doctors, others will. Also, some doctors will prescribe medications to certain patients while other doctors will not.
Seeking a second opinion makes it easier to pursue legal action if a case of medical malpractice occurs. If a patient is not honest on the medical record, the doctor may not be held liable for a misdiagnosis, even if the patient dies or becomes seriously ill.
Tracking your symptoms
After undergoing treatment, patients are encouraged to track their symptoms to note if a symptom has gotten worse, improved or remained the same. Monitoring allows a patient to know when a symptom should disappear and how long after treatment.
Most people understand that not all doctors are guaranteed to make accurate diagnoses. After receiving a diagnosis, some patients take specific steps to track the status of their symptoms. Many patients contact more than one doctor to seek alternative opinions and reduce the risks of a wrong diagnosis. Medical malpractice is one way of receiving compensation for a misdiagnosis that leads to an injury or death.