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Avoiding some common medical mistakes

Oklahoma patients may benefit from understanding more about some of the common mistakes made by all types of physicians. It has been estimated that 15 percent of all medical conditions are misdiagnosed initially. Misdiagnosis is currently the leading mistake committed by physicians around the country. According to a 2013 study, the health conditions most often misdiagnosed are cancer, acute renal failure, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and congestive heart failure.

It has been found that this takes place twice as often in a doctor’s office setting than in hospitals. However, the consequences of a hospital misdiagnosis may be more severe than when it occurs at a physician’s office because hospitalized patients are often more ill when they are first admitted. A failure to diagnose, a misdiagnosis and a late diagnosis together account for approximately 160,000 hospitalized patients’ permanent injuries or fatalities every year. To help reduce the likelihood of misdiagnosis, patients are advised to come to the physicians prepared with a timeline and a list of symptoms.

Patients are also advised to be informed about the potential consequences of any medications prescribed by physicians. Patients are also encouraged to ask physicians questions about the condition. Patients who do not feel relief within the prescribed amount of time should return to their physician for help. Aside from the frequency of a misdiagnosis, other critical mistakes doctors make include treating the wrong patient, prescribing the wrong medication, practicing poor hygiene and performing surgery on the wrong site.

A patient who has been harmed due to a doctor error may benefit from confiding in a lawyer who has experience in medical malpractice litigation. Legal counsel will attempt to demonstrate, through a review of the patient’s medical history as well as through the testimony of expert witnesses, that the doctor failed to live up to the required standard of care and should thus be held financially responsible for the patient’s damages.