How common is misdiagnosis and why are complaints more common ?

It may be easier to answer the second part of our above question that the first.

There are probably 3 reasons why medical complaints are on the rise :-

  • The internet – in the same way as with law and other professions, the internet has provided an explosion of information, forums and opinions which enable all of us to find out a lot more than was previously the case. This is to an extent a dangerous thing since a “little knowledge is a dangerous thing”. American research indicates that as many as 8 out of 10 internet users will at some point visit medical or symptom checking websites and the tendency to self diagnose has even been give a new medical term, “cyberchondria”.
  • People are more aware of their rights and access to justice, with many law firms offering no win no fee, has meant it is now easier for someone who believes a mistake may have been made to pursue the matter.
  •  For reasons perhaps linked to the above and societal changes, the degree of unquestioning acceptance and respect for professional advice has diminished. This factor may also be linked with a perception that, for reasons of insurance or perhaps in some cases arrogance, when questions are asked about treatment or advice and a clear, straight answer or perhaps even an apology are not given, the matter ends up in the hands of lawyers. Continue reading