Could judgment be the cause of misdiagnosis?
Physicians make a pledge or an oath before they start practicing medicine. Do you think physicians are keeping their promise? It’s hard to say if you have ever experienced a misdiagnosis that took years to figure out. Bias judgment may be in the way of physicians diagnosing correctly and early. However, this judgment may be forced upon them with full patient schedules to maintain.
I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing, or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient – World Medical Association
How are you being judged?
Many diseases mimic one another and every person shows different symptoms depending on their health. Physicians have a challenge when diagnosing and the challenge is higher when the schedule is full. Have you noticed your doctor hardly paying attention to you, asking you quick questions, and rushing you out the door?
The average patient load for a family doctor is 20 patients. In a 10 hour day, that is one patient every 30 minutes. That does not include a lunch break. The number of patients a doctor is seeing can increase to up to 30 patients or more. That leaves about 10-15 minutes per patient. In that time, a doctor needs to ask you questions, assess the symptoms, take notes, and order lab tests and prescriptions. That is not a lot of time spent on a patient.
This time crunch leaves doctors to diagnose on the most likely cause of your symptoms and acute diagnosis. This leads to a judgment of the majority of symptoms coming into the doctor’s office. Take the flu for example. Many diseases start with flu-like symptoms and progress over time with new symptoms. If you have flu-like symptoms and it is not the flu, chances are you will be in the ER with something serious that could have been treated early if you were not placed in the majority category of patients coming in with just the flu.
That is just one example of a bias judgment often made that does not help patients on an individual basis. Another bias is age. You might hear, “you are young enough to not have anything serious. You are probably stressed and just need more sleep.” This is a judgment often made. It is rarer for a young individual to have health complications than the elderly but this should not dismiss your symptoms of possibly something serious.
Fibromyalgia and thyroid conditions are being missed in the younger aged patients because of their age. Pain is more common in the elderly, thus a misdiagnosis is made. This is not the physicians’ fault by any means.
What is causing the misdiagnosis?
The misdiagnosis is happening due to the patient load, less available physicians, and lack of preventative health education. Physicians are forced into making an acute diagnosis with the time crunch discussed previously.
Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a multi-step process that can take anywhere from days to years. Unfortunately, MS is not a condition where you walk into your primary care doctor’s office because of unusual symptoms, and you walk out of the office with a definitive diagnosis. – Lisa Emrich, Patient expert
Understanding the paradox in a doctor’s office, it is imperative that a patient takes their health into their own hands with preventative health education. It is important to know your body and what is normal and not normal. Patients are failing to pinpoint their exact symptoms because they just don’t know if it’s normal or not or what it is called.
How to take control of your health.
Educating yourself on preventative health medicine is the first step and learning about general health symptoms and causes. By taking control of your own health, you won’t need to bother with a doctor visit as much or you can help the doctor narrow down exactly what you need to make the time you have with your doctor more efficient with treatment.
Learn more about lab results. Thyroid diseases are commonly misdiagnosed because of borderline levels are drawn earlier in the day still in the normal range. Thyroid tests are best taken in the afternoon for an accurate assessment.
Vitamin D is another test not commonly tested unless you ask for it. Vitamin D deficiency can be the cause of many symptoms and can be a symptom of serious illnesses.
I recently experienced a magnesium deficiency that I had to figure out on my own. I talk more about it in this article. The discovery helped me cure my muscle aches in my legs.
To avoid making frequent doctors visits, we encourage alternative medicine practices and healthy eating practices.
True Health Labs is another great option to get testing done yourself without a doctor.
Recommended Medical Health Books
Reading and learning are what we promote here. Education is the key to a healthy lifestyle. We have picked out some great medical health books that are a must in your library. Take control of your health now.
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Understanding and Evaluating Common Laboratory Tests
The Modern Herbal Dispensatory: A Medicine-Making Guide