A huge component of the doctor-patient relationship is trust. When you visit your doctor complaining of certain symptoms that are concerning you, you’ll need to trust that they will act competently using the medical expertise that they have acquired to diagnose you correctly or investigate through further testing.
While in many cases doctors are able to either correctly diagnose or refer their patient to a specialist, unfortunately, situations do occur in which a medical professional does not act swiftly enough in response to the concerning symptoms or abnormal test results. In these cases, the patient can suffer considerably – a delayed diagnosis can negatively affect them in many different ways. The following is an overview of the key negative effects of a delayed diagnosis.
Their prognosis changes
In most medical situations, an early diagnosis is key to prevent the spread or worsening of a disease or illness. For example, the early diagnosis of cancer is paramount in many cases for ensuring that it can be successfully treated. In the early stages of a disease, the symptoms may be relatively mild, therefore, diagnosis may be more difficult. However medical providers should be proactive in trying to correctly diagnose a patient.
Their emotional needs are not met
Not having a diagnosis when you are going through pain and suffering can be extremely stressful. Patients who are not diagnosed but have symptoms that affect their daily life can experience high levels of stress and anxiety, which may actually contribute to the progression and severity of their condition. Gaining a correct diagnosis can be crucial to a patient’s mental health.
The patient suffers additional pain and suffering
The longer it takes to get a diagnosis, the longer the patient will need to be in pain, most likely. A delayed diagnosis could also lead to additional surgeries that would otherwise not have been necessary.
If you or a loved one have suffered from a delayed diagnosis and dealt with prolonged pain, suffering or a worsened prognosis as a result, you may want to consider making a medical malpractice claim.