Research Shows Doctors Don't Share Bad Test Results

When you get your test results back after a doctor’s visit, you may breathe a sigh of relief when nothing appears to be abnormal, and your physician doesn’t mention any red flags. However, shocking new research by the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests that more than 7% of the time, doctors fail to report bad test results back to their patients.

Failure to diagnose is a serious example of medical malpractice, and when a physician does not warn you about the possibility of a life-threatening condition, you can hold them accountable in civil court for their negligence. At Zayas Law Firm, our Hartford medical malpractice lawyers are well-versed in standing up to negligent care providers and pursuing maximum compensation when you’ve been injured.

Why Do Doctors Fail to Report Abnormal Results?

Patients frequently assume that “no news is good news,” and that doctors are committed to providing them with the most accurate and up-to-date health information. But this new research suggests that the opposite is true, and doctors may sometimes be more interested in conserving their time and moving onto the next patient.

According to the study, another part of the reason doctors gloss over bad exam results is due to bureaucracy, and a major lack of communication at many hospitals and clinics. Because the attending physician is not typically the one who performs a blood test or other health exam, the patient may be shuffled through multiple departments before the exams are actually taken. Then, the busy physician may never receive proper notification that the test results arrived – and never take the requisite initiative to follow up with their patient.

Asking the Right Questions May Help Prevent Misdiagnosis

Although it’s ultimately the doctor’s responsibility to consider your health and well-being during a diagnosis, you may be able to reduce the chance that a bad test result will be overlooked. When you visit the doctor, make sure to ask them as many questions as possible, and then follow up if you don’t hear back on test results for a few days.

Here are a few other ways to be proactive about your diagnosis:

  • Offer a reminder before the tests start. Before you begin the recommended tests, ask when the doctor will be reviewing them, and ask if you can get their direct contact information before you leave.
  • Check online. If the hospital or clinic has an online portal, make sure to check it within a few days of taking your tests. Larger healthcare organizations automate almost everything in online systems, so you may be able to look at your lab results on your own, and then contact the doctor if anything seems odd to you.
  • When in doubt, call the office. It’s possible that the doctor has already reviewed your results, but failed to properly document that he or she has done so. See if you can call the doctor directly, and if not, keep calling the office to remind them that your test results have not returned or explained yet.

Of course, even the most proactive patients can become victim to a doctor’s negligence, and the physician can be held liable if you are injured as a result. When you’ve been hurt by a misdiagnosis, rest assured that our Hartford medical malpractice lawyers will fight on your behalf. We have more than 35 years of combined experience, and because we work only on a contingency fee basis, you won’t have to pay until we can win a successful outcome for your case.

Contact Zayas Law Firm today at (888) 486-3037 for a free consultation with our respected personal injury team!

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