Why do doctors miss dual diagnoses?

On Behalf of | Jul 29, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

When a patient comes to a doctor complaining of an illness, it’s typical to start with those symptoms and to start looking for the culprit. In most cases, a person’s symptoms will stem from a single illness, whether that is something like depression and anxiety or a disorder like diabetes or hypothyroidism.

In some cases, people do have more than one underlying condition, though. The symptoms of those conditions could overlap and make it difficult to figure out what the main cause is or if two different conditions need to be treated.

Dual diagnosis is difficult, but it’s not impossible

Having two conditions happen at the same time complicates things, but your medical provider should be watching for two or more conditions that could lead to these issues as they go through their analysis. For instance, a doctor might put dizziness down to hypoglycemia if you’re already a type I diabetic, but if the condition doesn’t go away by reducing the amount of insulin given or it appears when you aren’t hypoglycemic, then the medical provider should be looking for other causes, like heart problems or issues with anxiety.

Dual diagnoses are difficult because they overlap so much. One condition might make another more complicated or enhance the symptoms rather than producing new ones. However, medical providers are trained to look for mental health and physical health conditions. They’re trained to look for co-occurring disorders. If they fail to identify two that are typically found together and the patient is injured, then they could be accused of medical malpractice.

Getting a diagnosis helps patients move forward

Without a diagnosis, it’s possible that a patient’s needs could be ignored, or they might simply be referred to as a hypochondriac. It’s unfair for patients’ concerns to be set aside just because one diagnosis has been found. Providers should be willing to look further.

If your co-occurring conditions weren’t identified before they caused injuries, you could have a claim. You may be able to pursue a lawsuit against the medical provider who failed to identify or appropriately treat you for illnesses you were dealing with.


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