Patients depend on their doctors for many things, ranging from the basic, such as well-checks or influenza treatment, through broken bones and minor surgeries, and all the way to life-threatening conditions. At every stage there is a level of competence required by the doctor or the patient may suffer harm. In many cases, errors are made not as often in actively doing something wrong as a surgical error, for instance, but in a misdiagnosis of observed symptoms.
Health studies show that women are more likely than men to be misdiagnosed by medical professionals. This potentially places the patient in an uncomfortable position of wanting to have faith and confidence in her doctor yet being mindful of the need to act as her own advocate and question everything. Ultimately, the experts suggest taking a proactive approach and monitor whether the illness or condition seems to be not improving or getting worse, and take actions accordingly.
Among the more common misdiagnoses is a condition that can be deadly – heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., with typical symptoms that include chest pain, nausea, and shortness of breath. Unfortunately, these same symptoms may be exhibited in patients who suffer from anxiety or heartburn. A delay in receiving the proper treatment as soon as possible can be the cause of unnecessary complications and further damage. Other areas of misdiagnosis in women include thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, and cancer.
Not every error by a medical professional is medical negligence. However, where a mistake results in harm to a patient, it may be prudent to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer.