Most Americans have health insurance, but even those who do are often forced to pay large amounts out of pocket for copays any time they see a doctor. Because of this, it is common for people to delay a physician’s visit until symptoms are unmanageable. The internet serves to exacerbate this, as anyone can do a web search for their symptoms and attempt to self-diagnose and self-treat.
Most the time, delaying the diagnosis has little effect on long-term prognosis. Most illnesses resolve themselves naturally given time and rest. In many cases, there is no actual treatment available, particularly for viral infections. But some symptoms are more likely than others to indicate a dangerous or life-threatening condition. These symptoms include:
- Sudden intense headaches
- Numbness or fainting
- Shortness of breath
Unfortunately professional medical diagnosis is often as vague a process as internet self-diagnosis, and the general practitioner or specialist will need to run a battery of tests to get more information to determine what is wrong with you. Blood tests and other lab work are common, but in the case of many potentially dangerous diseases, some type of imaging scan will be necessary for the doctor to see what is going on underneath the skin.
Among the most common imaging test ordered is the MRI. An MRI allows a radiologist and doctor to scan for abnormal growths, tumors, or bone abnormalities that indicate a variety of conditions, from spinal stenosis to aggressive cancers. A properly read MRI can often reveal diseases early enough for a full recovery.
Unfortunately, too often an MRI is not ordered quickly enough, or is improperly read, resulting in unnecessary suffering. If you or someone you love was negatively affected by a missed diagnosis due to delayed scheduling of an MRI, or by an improperly read image, please consult with an experienced attorney.