Patient tips for reducing medical malpractice risks

Every patient wants to trust that his or her physicians are providing high quality of care when it comes to diagnosis, but that doesn’t always happen. Unfortunately doctors everywhere, including in Connecticut, can make diagnostic errors up to 15 percent of the time when a patient first comes to the office, an error that can lead to later accusations of medical malpractice.

Being prepared on your own can help to reduce the risk of misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose. If you’re not diagnosed properly, you could miss out on pertinent treatments or medications that could help you, and that in turn may make an existing condition become even worse. 

Some things that patients can do to reduce the risk of a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose include:

  1. ŸSchedule an early appointment so there’s a lower chance of the doctor being overbooked and hurrying through your time with him or her.
  2. ŸMake a chronological list of all symptoms and health concerns, so that it can be referenced during the appointment.
  3. ŸTake notes during the appointment, and make sure that you ask probing questions to encourage the doctor to consider all the possibilities.
  4. ŸBe sure to press for a differential diagnosis, or a list of possible issues, rather than taking the first thing the doctor mentions as the firm answer. Document those diagnoses in your notes, too.

Taking control of your doctor’s visit and any follow-up information, like test results, can help greatly in increasing the chances that your concerns are taken seriously and are fully investigated. Make sure to stay in touch if the treatment or medications are not helping, and get a second opinion whenever possible so that you are as informed as soon as possible about your medical condition.

If you believe that you have already been a victim of misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose an injury or illness, then seek legal help to explore any claims that you may have. 


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