At Franco Law Firm, we focus on personal injury cases. In the event of personal injury, medical records and documentation are vital to winning compensation. What happens when you can not seem to get a proper diagnosis? For women, this problem is far too likely.
We would like to believe that the medical professionals of our world are above bias. We trust them with our lives and the lives of our loved ones. Even the best-intentioned, most highly educated physicians will have measurable difficulty with bias in diagnosing women. Studies have shown consistent evidence that women are up to 30% more likely to be misdiagnosed than men. For some medical conditions, like a heart attack, a woman’s likelihood of misdiagnosis up spikes to 50%.
What causes medical diagnostic errors for women?
Sometimes it’s the conditions themselves. Less is known about women’s reproductive system than men’s. Ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and other reproductive health-related disorders, while not immediately life-threatening, leave the patients in suffering. These conditions are frequently misdiagnosed or dismissed, leaving patients unable to work, travel, or take care of themselves. Ovarian cysts can cause debilitating pain. Endometriosis can cause infertility when left undiagnosed. The research for women’s health is severely limited, and that is a problem.
Research matters because symptoms presently differ between men and women. When medical doctors are trained to see male symptoms as the only symptoms, they genuinely have a blind spot in diagnosing women. For example, in the case of heart attacks, men are likely to exhibit pain down their arm, shortness of breath, and sweating. A medical textbook would teach you these are symptoms of a heart attack.
When women have heart attacks, they often do not exhibit these symptoms. Women usually experience neck and jaw pain, dizziness, nausea, and heartburn-like pain. According to the American Heart Association, these dramatically different symptoms are potentially to blame for the frequent misdiagnosis of women experiencing heart attacks. Workers’ compensation does not always cover heart attacks, but they can be provided your workplace aggravated or triggered the attack.
What can you do to protect yourself (or the women you care about) from misdiagnosis?
The medical field is solely responsible for creating more and higher-quality research opportunities that include women. Regardless of obstacles, it is your responsibility to manage your health. There are steps you can take for protection against misdiagnosis.
Finding a physician that you trust and have a rapport with is essential. If you are unable to communicate with your physician about your levels of pain, bodily functions, or any other medical concern, that is a red flag. You should feel comfortable sharing anything with your doctor.
Keep daily records of your areas of concern, including exercise levels and diet. Sometimes a workplace injury, especially neck or back pain, can worsen over time. The more documentation kept on your condition, the easier the diagnosis will be and the easier it is to focus your concerns. This also helps you prepare for meeting with your doctors by offering consistent patterns. If you feel your concerns are undermined, get a second opinion. Or a third. Or a fourth. You know your body best. If something feels wrong, do not back down after a single doctor’s visit.
Knowing When To Involve a Lawyer
A doctor getting one diagnosis wrong is not an indication of malpractice. As we know, tests and standard protocol can offer incorrect diagnoses because, in part, of their history. To win a lawsuit against a doctor, you would have to prove two things: that no reasonable doctor would have made this mistake and that getting a correct diagnosis was possible.
If you were misdiagnosed, which led to the worsening of your condition, medical malpractice could be claimed against the responsible party. It is possible to receive compensation for the damages you have felt.
At Franco Law Firm, we take pride in how hard we work to advocate for our clients. The more you know, the better equipped you are to do so. Manuel Franco of the Franco Law Firm has been serving the Tampa Bay area for years and is skilled with winning back your right to compensation for workplace injuries, social security, and personal injury. If you, or someone you know, has been injured while at work, please feel free to call us at (813) 872-0929 to schedule a free consultation so you can get back to work, feeling great!