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The Emotional Toll of Medical Misdiagnosis: Beyond the Legal and Financial Aspects


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When we seek the cure for what ails us, it’s a given that our doctor will ask us some questions, run some tests, and determine what its cause is. They diagnose us, treat us, and our condition improves. This is how healthcare is supposed to work, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen this way. Misdiagnoses happen, and patients can be irreparably harmed when they do. A misdiagnosis can take its toll on a patient in many different ways.

Florida victims who’ve been harmed by an incorrect diagnosis that caused them harm should contact a misdiagnosis lawyer in Miami, Florida. A compassionate medical malpractice attorney can help ensure justice is served during a free consultation.

Common Reasons for a Medical Misdiagnosis

Most of us think that our doctors never get things wrong. Unfortunately, that’s not entirely true. Studies suggest that misdiagnosis occurs over 7 million times yearly in emergency rooms nationwide. The top conditions that are most frequently misdiagnosed in the emergency room are:

Emergency room misdiagnosis could occur due to their stressed environment, understaffing, and inexperienced staff. However, many incorrect diagnoses happen in your primary care physician’s office during examinations. Although unacceptable, here are some of the reasons why a doctor could get a diagnosis wrong:

  • Lack of communication with the patient – Due to time constraints or simply not asking the proper questions, not communicating properly with the patient can lead to a misdiagnosis.

  • Dismissing patient complaints – An overconfident physician may dismiss much of the information their patient provides. If the patient has a history of minor physical ailments, the doctor could ignore a valid complaint, thinking they are exaggerating their condition.

  • Failure to recognize complications – Failing to recognize or misinterpreting complications can lead to a misdiagnosis. Many underlying conditions can make a correct diagnosis difficult.

  • Lack of experience – Inexperienced physicians often lead to an incorrect diagnosis. This could be due to misinterpreting lab or imaging tests or a failure to order the correct tests.

The Emotional Toll of a Medical Misdiagnosis

Patients diagnosed incorrectly could have easily been harmed due to their doctor’s negligence emotionally and physically. Any delay in properly treating a condition can harm the patient, especially when the doctor diagnoses a serious condition as less deadly. For diseases like cancer that go misdiagnosed, the patient could have lost valuable time undergoing life-saving treatment.

Patients diagnosed with the wrong condition can face many different emotional issues while trying to cope with the harm done to them by a trusted medical professional. Some of the common emotional issues they face are:

  • Depression

  • Nightmares

  • Anxiety

  • Mental anguish and anger

  • Lack of enjoyment of life

  • Distrust in the medical community

These emotional issues can also manifest physically, creating further healthcare issues for the victim. They could cause problems with returning to work and create family tension. Some physical responses to a misdiagnosis could include:

  • Insomnia

  • Headaches

  • Skin problems

  • Lack of energy and motivation

  • Gastrointestinal issues

  • Chronic pain

How To Move Forward After a Medical Misdiagnosis

Many patients develop deep psychological issues after being harmed due to a medical misdiagnosis. Although incredibly unfair, once they get treatment for the proper medical condition, victims face a roller coaster ride of emotional issues. Fortunately, there are things they can do to push past the emotional pain and move forward. Here are some things to should consider:

  • Your feelings are valid – Feeling angry and upset after you trusted your healthcare professional to provide you with an accurate and correct diagnosis is valid. You have every right in the world to be upset.

  • The misdiagnosis was a traumatic event – It’s important to understand that your misdiagnosis was traumatic, and attempting to process your feelings can overwhelm you.

  • Seek specialized help – Talk to a mental health expert who can help you process your emotions. Working with a therapist, life coach, or mental health counselor can be very beneficial.

  • Don’t beat yourself up – Although difficult for some, blaming yourself for your doctor’s error won’t help you move forward emotionally. Don’t focus on the “should have, could have” scenarios.

The Emotional Toll of a Medical Misdiagnosis: Final Thoughts

We place our trust in the doctors who diagnose our medical conditions. When a misdiagnosis breaks that trust, victims can feel cheated and angry. Some will battle depression, anxiety, and a lack of faith in the medical community. However, seeking help from a mental healthcare professional can be beneficial in processing a wide range of emotions.

If you or a loved one were misdiagnosed, speak with a personal injury attorney. They have the experience of seeking justice and accountability to ensure this horrible tragedy doesn’t harm anyone else.

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