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Avoiding overdiagnosis of mild brain injuries

| Aug 27, 2015 | Medical Malpractice

Overdiagnosis is a concern for many Pennsylvania doctors, and it is more common occurrence for some conditions than others. Overdiagnosis refers to diagnosis at a disease stage so early that treatment may be harmful to the patient. This differs from a false positive, which is a false result indicating a disease that is not really present. Overdiagnosis is a concern now that imaging can lead to a greater understanding of what is going on inside a person’s body than ever before.

When diagnosing a mild traumatic brain injury, it is important for doctors to look at symptoms as well as what medical imaging shows. Diagnostic imaging can be misused in this type of case, leading to treatment that is ineffective for a particular patient. Symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury may overlap with the symptoms of many psychiatric conditions, so doctors should be careful to rule out any other possible causes of symptoms before attributing them to a brain injury.

Overdiagnosis of mild traumatic brain injuries can be harmful to the patient because diagnosis of a brain injury may lead patients to have poor expectations for their recovery. If their symptoms are caused by another disorder, such as a treatable psychiatric condition, a brain injury diagnosis can lead a patient to not seek treatment for it.

A failure to diagnose a disease could be medical negligence in some situations. If it leads to a worsening of a patient’s condition, a consultation with a medical malpractice attorney to determine what recourse is available may be in order.