Patients in Michigan probably expect that the hardest medical diagnoses are rare ones. Malpractice records point in a different direction, however. For example, over 35% of ophthalmological misdiagnoses involve the retina. Of those, 29% are related to detached retinas. This is one of the most common problems seen by eye doctors, so it’s surprising that it’s so often missed.
When Ophthalmic Mutual Insurance Company studied malpractice cases related to diagnostic errors, they found that communication was a big factor. For example, doctors sometimes use too much jargon. Patients are unlikely to know what terms like “myope” mean, so doctors should try to use more common words instead. At the same time, patients need to feel empowered to ask clarifying questions of their physicians. They should never feel awkward about sharing their symptoms and risk factors, no matter how small they seem.
Another serious risk factor for misdiagnoses is distraction. Today’s doctors are more connected to their patients than ever before. In many ways, that’s a good thing. However, a physician needs to keep their attention on the appointment they’re seeing right now. They shouldn’t be distracted by texts and emails during a consultation. Paying close attention to a patient’s family history and asking clarifying questions during it are also important.
Retinal tears and dislocations must be diagnosed quickly. Patients recover better when these issues are caught and treated soon after the injury. Anyone who’s experienced trouble related to a retinal tear or dislocation may want to seek advice from a lawyer. Medical malpractice cases can be complicated, but an experienced attorney may help their clients understand how to get justice.
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