Frankly and frighteningly, medical malpractice is itself emerging as a growing healthcare concern in the United States. You only see the most sensational cases in the news media, but the truth is that more than half of us will experience personally at least one instance of medical malpractice in our lifetime – probably a diagnostic error. Research recently conducted by the Institute of Medicine and published by the National Academy of Sciences says that about five percent of the medical patients in the United States – that is, approximately twelve million of us – receive an inaccurate medical diagnosis every year. If twelve million of us contracted any kind of disease, it would be an epidemic and a headline news story. That’s how serious the malpractice crisis really is.
In medical malpractice cases, the word “misdiagnosis” is actually used to describe several situations: a diagnosis that was completely missed, a delayed diagnosis, or an inaccurate diagnosis. The Institute of Medicine researchers found that problems with collecting a patient’s medical history information and with spotting key medical details play a big role in medical misdiagnosis incidents, especially in hectic, overscheduled outpatient clinics. A lack of time interacting with and listening to each patient is also a surprisingly common factor in misdiagnosis incidents. The researchers also learned that kidney disease is one of the most misdiagnosed medical conditions across the United States.
YOU MAY BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION
If you are suffering with kidney disease and you have received a medical misdiagnosis at any time since you began seeking kidney disease treatment, speak promptly with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who routinely represents the victims of kidney disease. In fact, you can make the call right now. If a physician fails to diagnose kidney disease properly, a delay of treatment could exacerbate your medical condition and lead to dire complications. If your treatment for kidney disease was delayed or if your medical condition deteriorated after receiving a misdiagnosis, you are entitled by law to receive reimbursement for your additional medical needs and treatment, and in some cases, you may also be awarded additional compensation for the associated pain and suffering you experienced due to the misdiagnosis.
Every professional healthcare provider and every healthcare facility in the United States is held to high professional standards that are aimed at protecting the general public. Every healthcare provider is aware of those standards and is also aware of the malpractice crisis in this country and its cost. And still, medical malpractice costs the United States more than $3.5 billion every year. Medical malpractice cases usually involve more than one physician. In fact, hospitals and hospital corporations, clinics, and other institutions and healthcare professionals can also be named as defendants and also held accountable for their roles in any medical malpractice incident. Medical malpractice is defined as the negligence of a professional healthcare provider that causes the decline of the patient’s health, causes added injury to the patient, or causes the patient’s wrongful death. In order to prevail, a successful medical malpractice claim for the misdiagnosis of kidney disease must be supported by clear evidence that a kidney disease indication was either missed entirely or was not followed up and investigated properly.
When any physician finds abnormal quantities of protein in the urine – “proteinuria” – or abnormal amounts of blood in the urine – “hematuria” – that doctor should retest you after a brief interval. Proteinuria is usually the first indicator of kidney disease. If a retest indicates the same levels of blood and/or protein, you should be sent right away to a kidney specialist – a nephrologist. Nephrology is the medical specialization that deals with kidney diseases. A nephrologist can offer patients with kidney disease the specific testing, precise treatment, and comprehensive monitoring they need. General practitioners are expected to know when a patient should be seen by a specialist. If any healthcare provider failed to send you to a nephrologist after discovering proteinuria or hematuria, or if your health deteriorated subsequent to a wrongful diagnosis, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim, and you’ll want to discuss the case with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
A GROWING GLOBAL CONCERN
Millions of people around the world – in all races, nations, and walks of life – struggle with kidney disease. According to the World Health Organization, chronic kidney disease is the number twelve cause of death in the world today, and chronic kidney disease fatalities are increasing by eight percent a year, which means that chronic kidney disease is a growing global public health concern. According to the National Kidney Foundation, kidney disease is responsible for more than 90,000 fatalities every year in the United States. But there’s good news, too. Typically, chronic kidney disease can be quickly and accurately detected with commonly-used, inexpensive blood and urine tests. Early and correct diagnosis is the key to tackling chronic kidney disease successfully. There’s no cure, but if diagnosed early and accurately, the majority of patients are able to manage their chronic kidney disease with medications and without any substantial disruption to their lives, their families, and their everyday routines.
The kidneys are shaped like beans. Each one is roughly the size of a human fist, and they are located on each side of the spine. Kidneys filter the blood, and they also secrete essential hormones into the body. As blood circulates through the kidneys, thousands of microscopic nephrons remove toxins and other wastes from the blood. The kidneys also remove excess water and calcium, and they help the body to retain a number of essential chemicals. The kidneys also release three hormones: erythropoietin, rennin, and calcitriol. These hormones are essential for strong bones, healthy red blood cells, and the proper regulation of blood pressure.
KIDNEYS AND YOUR HEALTH
Properly functioning kidneys are essential to good health. When your kidneys do not function as they are supposed to due to chronic kidney disease, you may also be at risk for medical conditions that include infertility, diabetes, and heart disease. A precise and early diagnosis of kidney disease, followed up promptly with the proper medical treatment, can usually keep the disease manageable for most patients without progressing to end-stage kidney failure. However, an early and accurate diagnosis is absolutely imperative for every person dealing with kidney disease. Testing is recommended for anyone over the age of sixty and for anyone with a family history of kidney disease.
It’s always a good idea for kidney disease patients to conduct their own research and actively seek to understand their medical condition. Superlative educational resources are available from the National Kidney Foundation, the American Kidney Fund, and other patient-friendly organizations. Patients should also ask every question that they believe is important, and they should settle for nothing less than clear, comprehensive answers. Do not be intimidated by a physician or by anyone else when it comes to your health. It is imperative to be able to trust the doctors and other healthcare providers who serve you.
IF YOU ARE DOUBLY VICTIMIZED
Nevertheless, if it’s possible, have a trusted friend or a family member accompany you to each of your medical visits and appointments for kidney disease treatment. If you are victimized by medical malpractice, it’s important to stand up for your rights and take legal action. Kidney disease patients are already fighting for their health and in some cases for their lives, so when they become the targets of medical malpractice, they are doubly victimized. Those healthcare providers who are responsible for medical malpractice must be held accountable – frankly, justice demands it. Do not be reticent to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney about a kidney disease misdiagnosis and about your legal rights and options.
Kidney diseases are still somewhat puzzling because a sole, conclusive cause for any one patient’s condition is usually impossible to isolate. The probable causes of most kidney diseases include genetics (a history of kidney disease in the family), the liberal consumption of analgesics (over-the-counter painkillers), infection, trauma, and environmental factors. High blood pressure and diabetes exacerbate kidney disease. A number of treatment alternatives are now available for early-stage kidney disease sufferers. The right treatment depends of the precise type of kidney disease and how early the disease is detected. Steroids are effective for managing some kidney diseases, while prescription pharmaceuticals treat several other types of kidney disease.
If you have been the victim of a kidney disease misdiagnosis, you are legally entitled to compensation, but being “legally entitled” does not mean that you will simply be handed a compensation check. You’ll have to prove that you were injured or that your health deteriorated due to a medical misdiagnosis, and you’ll have to fight for your compensation with the help of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Aggressive legal help is available. If you are a kidney disease sufferer, you’ll want to be represented by an experienced medical malpractice attorney who works exclusively with kidney disease patients. A good medical malpractice lawyer can help you gather the evidence you need to file a malpractice claim, consult with experts regarding your case and condition, help you obtain proper medical treatment for kidney disease, and fight aggressively on your behalf for the justice you deserve.