When visiting a doctor, a patient expects that the symptoms presented will prompt the proper diagnosis, leading to a successful treatment and recovery. Health care professionals have a responsibility of providing a standard of care that promotes the well-being of the patient. Unfortunately, negligence on the part of the doctor could lead him or her to misdiagnose a condition, creating additional health concerns for the patient.
Types of Misdiagnosis
In some cases, a completely wrong diagnosis is given based on symptoms that may be similar to the actual condition. In these cases, a doctor may have performed an inadequate examination and made a diagnoses based on negligent findings. This can result in the prescription of unnecessary drugs (medication errors) and also allows the misdiagnosed condition to go untreated.
Another case of misdiagnosis occurs when a secondary condition goes undetected and an inadequate or incorrect drug is prescribed. In cases of both wrong diagnosis and undetected secondary conditions, a risk of harmful reactions to incorrect drugs is possible, and an untreated condition can result in further medical deterioration or even death.
Delayed diagnosis occurs when a condition is overlooked as a result of a negligent examination, allowing the condition to worsen before it is detected. This could lead to increased illness and a more complex treatment method when the condition is finally detected. Certain diseases left untreated can end in the wrongful death of a patient.
Antidepressants and Misdiagnosis
The growing use of antidepressants and the diagnosis of mental disorders is a topic that has seen much attention. Specifically, the administering of antidepressants to children is a particularly sensitive issue.
In instances when a child is prescribed an antidepressant as a result of medical misdiagnosis, side effects can be devastating. In many cases, individuals have undergone years of treatment involving antidepressants as a result of a misdiagnosis. This has lasting effects on a child’s emotional state, social relations and even physical well-being. The threat of a patient inflicting harm on himself or herself and others or even committing suicide under the influence of a mind-altering antidepressant is a risk that could become a reality.