Have you ever received a medical diagnosis and wondered how it could possibly explain your symptoms? Or perhaps you’ve explained your symptoms numerous times, but no one has offered you a diagnosis. Unfortunately, misdiagnoses are common for many reasons. Here’s what to do if you think you’ve been misdiagnosed.
If you notice that you’re experiencing symptoms, keep track of when and where they occur in a notebook or on your phone. Take pictures so you can show your doctor later. Staying organized will help your doctor better understand exactly what you’re experiencing and how often.
Do Your Research
You shouldn’t believe everything you read online, but that doesn’t mean you can’t trust any online content either. Look for reputable websites from nonprofits, your country’s national health organization, and academic institutions. If you see the same information on each of those sites, you’re on the right track.
Talk To Your Doctor
A misdiagnosis can happen for all sorts of reasons, simply because doctors are not perfect, and they’re often busy. Malpractice, on the other hand, involves your doctor recommending treatments that cause you harm. Most of the time, talking to your doctor about your concerns is the best way to get the care you need, even if it takes more than one try.
Bring an Advocate
If you feel that your doctor isn’t taking you seriously, or if you want to feel more confident speaking up for yourself, bring along a partner, spouse, or adult child who can corroborate your symptoms. Having someone else there instantly raises the gravity of the situation, which can help communicate how seriously you and your loved ones take your symptoms.
Focus on Your Symptoms
While it is tempting to make conclusions about your health based on your own research, it is better to avoid offering a self-diagnosis when talking to your doctor. When doctors form a diagnosis, they do so using a number of factors, including your symptoms, medical history, medications, and test results. You don’t want to push them toward a conclusion based on partial information.
Additionally, it can seem rude if you demand that your doctor agree with your self-diagnosis. They might end up wondering why you’re bothering to get their opinion.
Get a Second Opinion
The last thing to try if you think you’ve been misdiagnosed is to seek out another medical professional’s advice. If you have tried all of the above tactics and still aren’t feeling any better, there’s a chance your primary care physician has missed something that another doctor might catch. While it’s rarely intentional, some doctors do jump to conclusions or dismiss rarer diagnoses as being too unlikely.