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How families may cope with a medical misdiagnosis

Jan 14, 2022 | Medical Malpractice

In the middle of the night, your spouse awakened in despair. The crackling noise when he exhaled signified wheezing. He was unable to sleep lying down or sitting up, and he was coughing up blood.

You took him to an urgent care facility where the physician diagnosed acid reflux due to the food your spouse ate hours earlier. You were told to purchase over-the-counter medication. Within a week, your spouse died due to heart failure. This situation represents an obvious case of medical misdiagnosis. Now, you must cope with the anger, hurt, disbelief, confusion and guilt.

100,000 misdiagnosed annually

A medical mistake led to your spouse’s death. Sadly, yours is not a unique situation. According to a 2019 report from Johns Hopkins Medicine, each year more than 100,000 U.S. residents become permanently disabled or die due to a medical misdiagnosis. In such cases, physicians either miss, delay or provide the wrong diagnosis.

For surviving family members, the road to healing is possible. You have been battered by the misdiagnosis from a medical professional whom you trusted. That physician made a horrible mistake, and now you must overcome it.

Therapy and self-kindness

Emotional healing is necessary. Here are some points to understand:

  • Anger and fear are normal: With an erroneous diagnosis, the doctor violated your trust. Feelings of anger and fear will surface.
  • This was a traumatic event: Trauma greatly affects the brain and body. You are in a vulnerable physical and mental state.
  • Therapy may help: Consider working with a mental health counselor. You and your family need healing.
  • Take care of and be kind to yourself: It is not a good idea to revisit the situation and blame yourself for not recognizing certain details or taking certain actions.

It was a mistake that resulted in terrible consequences to your family. Understand that you could not control the outcome, but you can control how you recover.

You can overcome this

Your family, too, is the victim of a faulty medical diagnosis. Yes, it is difficult to accept what happened, but it is time to soldier on and take care of each other. Also, seek professional help and the guidance of an experienced legal advocate.