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Working with your doctor to avoid an error

Going to a doctor for a routine annual exam is one thing. But, going to a doctor when you are ill or may have a potentially serious condition is quite another. Massachusetts residents in this situation should take concrete and proactive steps to work cooperatively with their physicians to facilitate proper diagnoses. While ultimately it is up to the medical experts to make a diagnosis, you are lucky in that there are things you can do to help the process.

According to WebMD, one of the most important things for you to do is to create a comprehensive collection of your medical history to share with any new provider. This should include your family and personal medical history and any test results you have received related to your current situation. Note what doctors or facilities you have been to, for what and what the outcome of each visit was. Document any medications, including over-the-counter drugs and supplements, you take as well.

Once at the doctor’s office, make sure you carefully explain all of your symptoms. Do your best to stick to the facts and be as detailed as possible. For example, instead of just saying that you felt like you had a fever, take your temperature, record it and tell your doctor the result. Make notes along the way and even ask your doctor for a copy of his or her notes from your visit. All of this will give you and your doctor a more holistic look into your situation.

If you would like to learn more about this topic, please feel free to visit the medical diagnostic error page of our Massachusetts malpractice website.

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