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Poll reveals misdiagnosis common in Mass. patients

A recent WBUR poll in Boston reveals some very troubling views about the current state of the Massachusetts medical care system. Although 48 percent of those polled are very satisfied with the quality of medical care they receive, four in ten sick adults believe there is a serious problem with the quality in the state. In fact, when asked specifically about the quality of treatment, 37 percent believe that this is a serious or somewhat serious problem for the state.

Misdiagnosis is more widespread than generally thought for patients in Massachusetts. Of those polled, one in seven said they were actually given the wrong diagnosis or treatment. Forty-eight percent of those polled feel that doctors and nurses are not spending enough time with their patients, and that this is a major reason for the problems that currently exist in the quality of medical care in Massachusetts.

One woman relayed a harrowing experience. Following a routine surgery for gastro-reflux disease, she began having chest pain. Six weeks passed, and multiple checkups and X-rays; however, she still was in excruciating pain. Her doctor just told her to wait. One night, following a checkup, while alone at home, she passed out and could not move. Luckily her husband found her and she was taken to the E.R. where the woman had a pericardial effusion.

The sack around the patient's heart had filled with fluid and it is likely that this would've been caught if she had actually been physically examined by her doctor that morning. The injured patient may be able to recover damages from her doctor and the hospital for her past, present and future medical expenses and for her pain and suffering.

This poll truly shows that although many Massachusetts residents are satisfied with the quality of medical care they receive, there are many flaws in the system. If an individual feels they may have been misdiagnosed, or that a doctor or other medical provider has been negligent in providing proper medical treatment, it's important that timely action is taken by the injured patient.

Source: www.bur.org, "WBUR Poll: Many in Mass. "Very Satisfied" With Quality of Health Care," Deborah Becker, June 12, 2012

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