Help Avoid Medical Mistakes with an Accurate Family Health History
When you go to the doctor, it is important to be thorough when describing your symptoms, how long they have been occurring, and any other side effects you may be experiencing. Having all the details is a key ingredient in helping your doctor order the appropriate tests and to make the correct diagnosis. Incorrect medical diagnosis and misdiagnosis have become an increasingly common problem and can have serious repercussions for the patient. Getting a misdiagnosis of your injury or illness can not only result in costly delays in treatment, but can mean the difference between life and death.
Your Family Medical History
According to research on medical misdiagnosis by BMJ Quality and Safety, a leading journal on healthcare safety, more than 12 million patients are the victims of diagnostic errors and delays in treatment due to missed or incorrect diagnosis. These errors can result in serious effects for the patients, ranging from longer recovery times to increased severity of illness, the need for more invasive treatments, and in some cases, suffering an untimely and otherwise avoidable death.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that a family health history is a valuable resource in warning your doctor of hereditary traits and conditions which are known to run in families. By making your family doctor aware of these traits and conditions, your doctor may be better able to identify and diagnose any symptoms you experience, as well as being able to take preventative measures to avoid symptoms and ill effects in the first place. Some of the conditions that are often passed on to family members include the following:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Certain cancers
- Blood diseases
- Cystic fibrosis
- Sickle cell anemia
In addition to the above, a complete family health history can provide valuable information regarding issue with pregnancy and childbirth, propensities towards obesity and early death, and warn doctors for the potential of medication and anesthesia allergies.
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Filling Out Your Family Health History
According to the NIH, your family health history should go back at least three generations, and include relatives such as your siblings, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and cousins. The American Medical Association (AMA) urges clients not to rely on their own memories or speculations, but instead to make the time to have detailed discussions with family members about their health history. The AMA offers toolkits which you can print and use as a guide when asking these questions, and though it may seem awkward at first, you can share your own health history with them and explain why what you are doing is so important. Use this as an opportunity to educate your family on the ways in which a complete and accurate family health history can benefit your loved ones and result in better overall medical care while helping to avoid potentially fatal medical errors.
Let Us Assist You with Your Case
If you or someone you care about has suffered harm as the result of a medical mistake, misdiagnosis, or delays in treatment, contact our experienced South Carolina medical malpractice attorneys today. At Anastopoulo Law Firm we can advise you on the best course of action in your particular case, and assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.