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Identifying and preventing a misdiagnosis

While modern medicine makes it possible to treat many diseases that were once fatal, diagnosing patients still involves some guesswork. Oklahoma residents might like to know about misdiagnoses and why they occur.

Diagnostic errors fall into three categories. The first is a completely incorrect diagnosis, which happens when a physician wrongly labels a patient's condition. There are also delayed judgments where patients are diagnosed later than they should be, which gives health problems time to worsen. Finally, a diagnosis can be correct but explained improperly to a patient.

Even medical experts cannot know everything, but misdiagnoses could be reduced by using diagnostic management teams. This means that multiple medical professionals are involved with a diagnosis. When experts speak with medical staff with different experiences and specialties, multiple people have a chance to weigh in as opposed to one opinion being the basis for a diagnosis. This coordination could include communication with clinicians, oncologists, nurses, radiologists and therapists.

Management teams aim to prevent and reverse misdiagnoses, and UC Davis Medical Center made a breakthrough while utilizing these teams in its clinical chemistry lab. Researchers discovered that properly monitoring glucose injections can reduce erroneous insulin administration, and using high-quality glucose meters makes this easier. When the medical center changed its glucose meters, hypoglycemic issues dropped by 35 percent. This also led the Food and Drug Administration to call for better glucose meters nationwide.

Those who are harmed by a failure to diagnose a disease may want to meet with a medical malpractice attorney to see what recourse might be available. In order to prevail, an attorney will need to demonstrate to a jury's satisfaction that such error constituted a failure by the medical professional to exhibit the requisite standard of care.

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