Posted by: kateraidt | February 22, 2010

Chronic Misdiagnosis by Doctors – the New American Epidemic?

In 2005 when my first child was born, I had to have an unexpected C-section. All went fine with the surgery but once I got home I started having severe pain around the C-section scar. I went back to the doctor numerous time who simply “cleaned up” the wound and stitches. Each time I told the doctors that his treatments were not helping the pain, but no further action was taken. A few weeks later my husband and I were out of town and I woke up with such severe pain in my C-section area I had to be rushed to the hospital. A blood test was done to find that I had lethal levels of infection in my blood. I had a staph infection eating away my insides. When the surgeon opened me up, the staph infection was through my muscles, fat, down to my groin. I was in the hospital for 19 days and I had to learn how to walk again. If I had waited 1 more day to go to the hospital I wouldn’t be here sharing this story. The severity of my situation was completely preventable if the first doctor I was treated by had done one simple blood test OR given me antibiotics. I had neither.

I have sold cancer insurance for 7 years. I have had dozens of clients who have had claims with me. The one question I ask all of them is “How were you diagnosed with your cancer?” At least 85% of the time, my client was misdiagnosed. “You just have a stomach bug” said one doctor or “You don’t have the typical symptoms for ovarian cancer” said another doctor. Both doctors were wrong. Both of my clients are now dead.

Another common trend: I have seen many of my clients have a gut instinct that something is wrong. They are sick or have pain they have never experienced before. They want to have tests run “just to make sure” it’s not something serious. The patient asks for an MRI or biopsy to be done. The doctor says it’s not needed. The patient begs. The doctor still says “no”. The patient goes to another doctor who is willing to do the test. VOILA. The patient has stage 4 cancer.

My advice to you after my firsthand experience nearly losing my life to a misdiagnosis and the countless cancer cases which I have seen to be misdiagnosed. If your gut instinct tells you something is wrong, it probably is. Doctors are not Gods. Yes, we put our faith in them, but if your gut tells you to purse an MRI, biopsy, X-ray, mammogram or a second opinion from a different doctor, don’t hesitate for two seconds. Get the care you need. The peace of mind alone will save you your sanity – and possibly your life.

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