When physicians overdiagnose a patient, the consequences can be devastating.
This form of negligence is quite common. In fact, says surgeon and breast
cancer specialist Laura J. Esserman, urologist Ian M. Thompson Jr., and
esophageal cancer specialist Brian Reid in a 2013
Journal of American Medicine article, “Physicians, patients, and the general public must recognize
that overdiagnosis is common and occurs more frequently with cancer screening.”
December 9, 2013, Medscape reported that, in a study of more than 53,000
people, “low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) results in an approximately
18% overdiagnosis of lung cancer.”
Overdiagnosis could cause a patient to undergo unnecessary, costly treatments
for a condition that he or she doesn’t even have. Imagine enduring
chemotherapy only to find out that your tumor was benign. Not only does
chemotherapy cause nausea, fatigue, and hair loss, it compromises your
immune system, leaving you susceptible to a host of diseases.
Overdiagnosis could also delay treatment for a condition you
A doctor could misdiagnose a condition for many reasons. For instance,
he or she may not take the time to assess the patient thoroughly and order
appropriate diagnostic tests.
As Best Doctors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Seligman recently
stated, “[D]octors today are increasingly time-strapped. Many of
them are seeing up to 30 patients a day. They’re working in an overburdened
health system with fractured or incomplete medical records. All of these
things too often directly impact health outcomes – no matter how
dedicated or skilled the physician may be.”
Also, some conditions have a tendency to be overdiagnosed. They include:
- Alzheimer’s disease – alternative forms of dementia are often
overlooked in the elderly population;
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – other behavioral issues
are often ignored and unnecessary medication is prescribed;
- irritable bowel syndrome – similar conditions include Celiac disease
and Crohn’s disease; and
- Lyme disease – symptoms are non-specific, so Lyme disease tends to
be a default diagnosis.
If it can be proven that your healthcare team was negligent by failing
to treat a condition or overtreating a condition you don’t have,
you may be able to recover damages for your medical expenses, pain and
suffering, and lost wages in a
medical malpractice claim.
If you have questions about your doctor’s diagnosis, attorney
Chris Mellino welcomes you to
contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation. You may also download or
request our free guide on how to file a medical malpractice claim in Ohio.