As stated by the Washington Post, the National Academy of Medicine reported in 2015 that most people will receive an incorrect diagnosis regarding a serious condition at least once in their lives; estimates report that 12 million people (5% of adults) who attend outpatient care receive misdiagnoses annually. This is a vast number of lives that are affected each year, making this a grave concern. Many healthcare professionals would agree that evaluations are mostly based on what the professional can observe and understand, which can be quite subjective and can vary between doctors. If you feel you’ve been misdiagnosed, you’re not alone. But what should you do?
When first receiving a misdiagnosis, you may feel frustrated, exhausted, and close to giving up. You’ve just spent a lot of time, money, and paperwork at a place with a doctor while looking for answers, and now you’re back at square one. The good news? While this diagnosis may not seem to fit, it’s one that you can rule out when talking to another healthcare professional – bringing you one step closer to solving the puzzle. If you believed you’ve received a misdiagnosis, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion. Or a third. Or even a fourth or more.
For many people, being diagnosed correctly means that everything seems to “fit”. One person shared this feeling on Health Central by stating, “When I was diagnosed, I did not doubt it. In fact, something within me deep down just clicked. I knew what I knew is what I knew to be true. First time in my life that this has happened.”
This common error in diagnosis is recognized by the healthcare community, and doctors are concerned about the number of patients who leave untreated or treated incorrectly. James Naessens, a professor of health services at Mayo Clinic, told the Washington Post that seeking a second opinion is a good option for clients to uncover what’s going on underneath the surface while also trying to keep costs down.
In addition to this, ask questions when receiving your evaluation. Take notes for further clarification, and even provide progress reports of your symptoms if you can. By doing your part, you can decrease your chances of receiving a misdiagnosis again. Otherwise, don’t give up. You will find the right fit. Sometimes it just takes time.
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