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How can I avoid becoming the victim of misdiagnosis?

Approximately 80 percent of individuals who suffer misdiagnoses are misdiagnosed because of problems with patient-doctor communication. These misdiagnoses include problems with recording patient medical histories, issues with physical exams and misinterpretations with diagnostic testing. How, then, can individuals avoid a misdiagnosis error like this?

One strategy is to schedule your doctor appointments early during the day. This will prevent your doctor from glossing over your appointment and speeding it up because he or she is running late. Also, if you think that your meeting with the doctor could take longer than normal, make sure to tell the doctor's office when making your appointment.

Next, be sure to take notes about your health issues ahead of time. Also, prioritize your list, just in case the time with your doctor time is limited. Be sure to list your symptoms and issues in chronological order. Also make a list of any medications and dietary supplements you happen to be taking.

If possible, bring a friend with you to the doctor as your advocate. Your friend will help you remember everything that happens between you and your doctor. This will help ensure you get the best attention from your doctor. If you can't bring a friend, take detailed notes to record the interactions with your doctor.

There other pieces of advice that Philadelphia residents can follow to prevent becoming injured by misdiagnosis, but sometimes there is no replacement for common sense, good judgment and intelligent questions. Indeed, never be afraid of asking your doctor whatever happens to be on your mind. Furthermore, in the event that a misdiagnosis error does result in serious injury or death, Philadelphia residents might consider evaluating the possibility of seeking compensation for related damages in civil court proceedings.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Mistakes even good doctors make," accessed July 30, 2015

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