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New study indicates millions of Americans are misdiagnosed

Houston residents may visit their doctor for regular check-ups or on occasions when they're not feeling well. Patients usually assume that their physician will provide an accurate diagnosis. But, a new study by a Baylor College of Medicine employee shows that misdiagnosis happens to millions of Americans each year.

Dr. Hardeep Singh of the Baylor College of Medicine studied data which indicated that up to 12 million Americans, or 5% of Americans, are misdiagnosed each year. Of those that are misdiagnosed, half of them result in a worsened condition because of the mistake according to a prior study by the same author. Patients who went to the doctor complaining of a cough, shortness of breath, or abdominal pain often were the ones who received a misdiagnosis. Some of the reasons for a misdiagnosis include problems with ordering tests, patient not giving accurate medical history, and physicians making an error when reading test results. There are some things patients can do to improve the chance that their diagnosis is accurate. These include giving a complete and clear medical history, and follow up with doctors after the visit in order to find out the results of any tests that were performed on them.

In light of these findings it may seem that misdiagnosis happens to many Houston residents every year. If a person believes that their condition was worsened because of a negligent physician, it may be a good idea to consult with a lawyer skilled in medical malpractice. An attorney may be able to help a patient and his family determine what happened and if a physician was negligent. An attorney may also be able to recover compensation for the mistake that can be used for future medical care, loss of wages, and other damages. Holding a physician accountable for his or her actions is important in order to make sure that another patient is not harmed in the future.

This most recent study should be an eye opener for Houston residents and patients regarding the risks and reality misdiagnosis. Physicians and patients both need to do their part to make sure that a medical diagnosis is accurate.

Source: CBS News, "12 million Americans misdiagnosed each year," Jessica Firger, April 17, 2014

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