In South Carolina, doctors sometimes misdiagnose brain cancer. There are several reasons for this, many related to the fact that brain cancer often has symptoms that indicate less serious maladies.
Doctors even have a phrase about looking for common illnesses first: “When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” This mindset encourages doctors to consider the most common, and therefore most likely, diagnoses before jumping to more unusual conclusions. This adage, however, can go wrong when someone does have a rare disorder.
Brain cancer can cause various symptoms, some of which are common to other illnesses. Forgetfulness or trouble sleeping can have any number of sources. Additionally, some of the more well-known symptoms of brain cancer are not present in all patients who have it. For example, seizures are only sometimes present.
When confronted with vague, diffuse symptoms, some doctors don’t make the right call. In the worst cases, doctors might misdiagnose a patient because they view symptoms as mild. Such doctors might fail to investigate further.
Too little investigation
Patients don’t always know which symptoms are significant. If doctors don’t ask probing questions, a patient might not know what to share. Someone who goes to the doctor looking for a headache cure might not realize that sudden-onset irritability is also an important data point for the doctor to consider, for example.
Because patients don’t always know which symptoms are of vital importance and which are not, doctors often need to press for more information. Unfortunately, short appointments with busy doctors don’t foster in-depth communication.
Diagnosing brain cancer is tricky, but every patient deserves the most attentive care possible. If you suspect that a doctor failed to diagnose you adequately, you might benefit from contacting an attorney with experience in medical malpractice law.