A failure to diagnose is as dangerous and deadly as an overt act of malpractice such as wrong-site surgery or botched delivery resulting in birth injury. All too often such failures to diagnose occur in busy emergency departments due to a range of issues including the failure of medical staff to properly communicate with each other, failure to take an adequate medical history, and failure to properly assess the symptoms with which the patient suffers. These failures to diagnose can be fatal if not caught and corrected in time.
Take for instance, a case in which a patient enters an emergency room complaining of severe headaches and slurred speech is noticeable. Yet, in spite of these two potential warning signs of a serious medical condition, the physician dismisses the symptoms and doesn’t order the proper diagnostic tests. While what I just wrote is fictional, similar cases do occur and patients die.
If you or a loved one have to go to the emergency room, make sure you have an advocate who is willing and able to ensure that the medical staff takes proper precautions with your medical care.
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