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Patients with anxiety may be improperly diagnosed

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2019 | Medical Malpractice |

Kentucky patients and others who are diagnosed with schizophrenia may not actually have the condition. This is according to a study from Johns Hopkins University that analyzed 78 cases referred to the Johns Hopkins Early Psychosis Intervention Clinic from February 2011 to July 2017. In 54 of those cases, an individual was predetermined to have schizophrenia. However, only 26 of those individuals actually had the condition while the others were deemed to have anxiety or other mood disorders.

One of the takeaways from the analysis is that primary care doctors should get second opinions when they aren’t sure about a mental health diagnosis. Typically, doctors will refer patients to specialists if they show signs of cancer, heart disease or other ailments. Another takeaway is that patients who are misdiagnosed may not get the treatment that they actually need in a timely manner.

There are five symptoms that a person must exhibit to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. Those symptoms include disorganized speech and disorganized behavior. The other three criteria for diagnosis include evidence of hallucinations, delusions and negative symptoms. However, a patient who is hearing voices may simply be exhibiting a sign of anxiety, and in some cases, it doesn’t have any significance. This is why a getting a second opinion from a specialist can be helpful.

A patient who receives a misdiagnosis may spend time and money on treatments that could be detrimental to his or her health. Those who are harmed by a medical error may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other expenses related to the mistake. Hospitals and insurance companies may also be liable for damages if they were negligent in allowing a patient to receive improper treatment. An attorney may help a victim of medical malpractice obtain a favorable outcome in a case.