Misdiagnosis is the most common type of medical error, with an estimated 10 to 20 percent of medical malpractice cases involving a diagnostic error. Given the high rate of error in diagnoses, it is incredibly important for patients to get a second opinion when facing a serious medical condition. Since a proper diagnosis is critical to proper treatment, a missed, delayed, or inaccurate diagnosis can significantly exacerbate a medical condition. Patients are sometimes reluctant to get a second opinion due to a lack of time or loyalty to their primary physician. Nonetheless, a second opinion is a critical part of adequate health care, especially when dealing with a serious illness like cancer or unexplained medical symptoms. According to the New York Times, second opinions can lead to significant changes in a patient’s diagnosis or in recommendations for treating a disease, particularly with respect to radiology images and biopsy pathology slides. As the article points out, some cancers, such as lymphomas and rare cancers of the thyroid and salivary glands, are difficult to diagnose correctly and have a high rate of inconclusivity or false results. According to Thomas Feeley, vice president of medical operations at MD Anderson, as many as 25% of patients who arrive at the center with diagnoses for certain cancers may receive a different diagnosis. What’s more, in approximately 3% of cases, the second opinion results in an altered treatment plan as a result of the correct diagnosis. Not only can a second opinion alert patients to a potential misdiagnosis, but it can also provide reassurance and supplemental information if the initial diagnosis is confirmed. “When you get cancer, the first thing you may want to do is jump to get treatment with the first person you talk to,” Dr. Feeley has said. “But taking the time to get a second opinion about the diagnosis you have and a careful evaluation of what treatments there are can be lifesaving.”
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish are committed to protecting the public from medical errors and helping the victims of medical malpractice obtain full and fair financial recovery for their injuries. If you suspect that you might have been the victim of medical negligence, contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish to schedule a free consultation to discuss a possible medical malpractice claim. Additional Information:
- 10 Facts about Medical Malpractice
- What to Do If You Suspect Medical Malpractice
- When a Hospital Death Involves Medical Malpractice
- Report Issued on Top 10 Patient Safety Strategies
Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.