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Is your diagnosis raising red flags?

You trust your Massachusetts doctor to provide the right diagnosis and the right treatment. Unfortunately, errors in diagnosis are common, and a missed diagnosis may mean that you do not get the treatment you need. Receiving unnecessary treatments after an incorrect diagnosis can be harmful, too. Here are a few steps to take if you have any doubts about the accuracy of your diagnosis.

Next Avenue reports that an estimated one in 20 people in the United States are misdiagnosed annually. This number includes delayed, incorrect and missed diagnoses. Such errors may arise from misinterpreted or inaccurate test results or because a given disease cannot be identified via lab tests. Additionally, your doctor may be facing increasingly crowded schedules, which means he or she sees more patients every day and has less time to spend with you.

The best way to minimize the risk of receiving an inaccurate diagnosis is to be proactive about your health. Do not simply accept your physician’s assessment at face value. Talk with your doctor. Ask about the possible presence of other health conditions. Likewise, if you have undergone tests that come back with unexpected results, you can ask to be retested, and it is essential that you follow up with your doctor to obtain the results and seek clarification if necessary.

If you are undergoing treatment but not seeing improvement, you should not just wait and hope for the best. An ineffective treatment strategy is a sign that it is time for a new approach—and possibly a different diagnosis.

When you have doubts about your doctor’s decisions, it is always a good idea to do some research and seek a second opinion. In your appointment with the second physician, you should look for parallels not only in your diagnosis but in the treatment recommendations. If the second doctor disagrees with the first, keep digging. Seek a third opinion. The more information you have, the more likely you are to arrive at the right diagnosis and proper treatment.

This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as expert medical or legal advice.

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