What Can I Do if I Was Misdiagnosed in Relation to Coronavirus?
April 14, 2020 | Medical malpractice,Personal Injury
The COVID-19 pandemic has swept across this country and changed the way of life for most people. Many people have become ill or lost their lives to coronavirus, and it looks like the epidemic will continue for some time. Many people have questions about testing and diagnoses related to COVID-19. It is important to understand that this is an unprecedented situation for everyone, including medical professionals. Reliable testing has not been available for many people, leading to many people going untested and untreated.
Could you be misdiagnosed?
One of the major concerns many people have about COVID-19 is being misdiagnosed. This is a valid concern, but it may not be the most pressing issue. What may affect more people than a misdiagnosis is a missed diagnosis. There is a difference between the two.
We have moved past the phase where they available coronavirus tests are unreliable. As testing has ramped up, the ones that are available are generally accurate. Yes, there are times when tests return inaccurate results, often due to a laboratory error or an insufficient amount of viral material collected from the patient in question. Improperly stored or handled samples can also result in false negatives. There is also research that indicates that patients tested too early during the course of their infection may not have a sufficient amount of the virus to be detected.
When medical professionals deem it appropriate for a person to have a test, the results of negative or positive can generally be taken as a true reading, though it is still recommended that tested individuals follow CDC guidelines concerning self-isolation and social distancing.
If a person tests positive for COVID-19, medical professionals will make an assessment as to what level of treatment is needed. For some people, particularly those who are asymptomatic or are not suffering serious adverse effects, treatment may simply mean self-isolation at home. For those with more serious symptoms, or those who are considered high-risk individuals, treatment in the hospital may be necessary.
The bigger problems could be a lack of available testing in certain areas of the country or a failure of medical professionals to recognize that a patient might have COVID-19, leading to them not ordering a test. Both of these scenarios could lead to a missed diagnosis.
How will a late diagnosis affect a person?
Early detection of COVID-19 is vitally important. Unfortunately, research indicates that it takes a median of five days for COVID-19 symptoms to show after a person contracts the virus, though many people do not develop symptoms for up to two weeks after being exposed. This can lead to many people not knowing that they are carrying the coronavirus.
A late diagnosis for most people who contract COVID-19 will not affect their long-term health. However, a late diagnosis could lead to the infected person spreading coronavirus because they did not know they had the disease.
For those who have higher risks of becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19, late detection of the disease can be detrimental to their health and well-being. Early detection of COVID-19 for at-risk patients can help ensure they receive quality medical care and 24/7 monitoring by a trained healthcare professional.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread in this country, we will continually learn new and better detection methods and treatments. If you have concerns related to this, contact a Seattle medical malpractice attorney today.