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Tips for Pittsburgh patients to avoid a delayed diagnosis

There are many ways in which a health care provider such as a doctor can be negligent in his or her treatment of a patient. One of the most frustrating for those impacted is the delayed diagnosis of a disease or condition. When this happens the result can be deadly.

Now, one woman who dying of cancer that took several years to finally diagnose, is providing information on what she wishes she would have done to have her condition uncovered sooner. The first tip she provides is to make sure that any conflicting test results are reconciled by additional testing. She advises that the "worst-case scenario" should be determined to not be an actuality.

She also suggests making sure that one's primary care doctor is attentive to a patient's needs and requests for additional information. That doctor should also be willing to go over the findings with specialists.

On the topic of specialists, she indicated it is important to have specialists who will take the time to go through the particulars of one's case to see if he or she can uncover anything that has been missed or provide a new insight.

Her final suggestion is to utilize the institutional patient advocate resources that are available, when necessary. Because filing a complaint may make health care providers take a second look at a case, it is important to do this as soon as one thinks that something was handled incorrectly.

There are legal steps that can be taken as well. When someone suffers the consequences from not having a condition diagnosed in a timely manner, that patient or his or her family could potentially file a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney can provide information on that course of action.

Source: News Observer, "The pain of a missed diagnosis," Karen Holliman, April 10, 2012

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