Everyone makes mistakes. But, for physicians, mistakes can be earth shattering. Misdiagnosing a patient or simply overlooking something can lead to deadly implications. To avoid risking the harm of a person or the hell on earth brought by a malpractice suit, be on the look out for some of the most commonly overlooked medical problems. A little more care to check for these problems, can help avoid far more time consuming and extreme issues in the future. Misdiagnosing, diagnosing too late, or overlooking simple problems can be devastation for a physician’s career.
Common things physicians overlook:
Healthy people can recover from Pneumonia in a few brief weeks. Treatments are readily available to treat this bacteria lung infection and patients can get over it without complications as long as it is detected quickly enough. Don’t be silly by missing out on treating such a simple diagnosis.
However, if you miss Pneumonia, a person can get really sick. And, elderly are especially at risk of this respiratory attack. Carefully check patients breathing with your stethoscope if they seem to be displaying flu-like symptoms. A Pneumonia-stricken patient will have audible signs in their breathing. Listen for “bubbling”, “cackling”, “rumbling” sounds when they inhale.
Check for this if you notice: coughing, fever, shaking chills, and shortness of breath. Also; headaches, clammy skin, low energy/fatigue, blueish color in nail-beds, or wheezing.
Urinary tract infection.
About half of women will suffer from a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their lives. UTIs are easily treated, just like Pneumonia, and also can cause terrible issues if not caught. A bladder infection like a UTI can cause kidney problems like Pyelonephritis.
Urinary tract infections are overlooked commonly for elderly. This is because older people commonly don’t report the problems as much as younger people do. Elderly patients assume their complications are a natural part of the aging process whereas young people immediately assume UTIs are the source of urinary discomfort. Additionally, catheters can cause urethra irritation that can cause UTIs commonly. It is your duty as a healthcare practitioner to ask about their urination and ask them if they are experiencing any issues.
Kidneys are an organ that are entirely too overlooked in general. But, low-level kidney failure is the number one disorder older people fail to notice immediately. What many people don’t realize is that kidneys are used for much more than just filtering our blood impurities. Kidneys also produce hormones and can alter a person’s blood pressure. Doctors need to step it up to ensure that the “puffy eyes” we see in our patients are brushed off as nothing.
Check for if you notice: patients are complaining of less urine output, swelling, fatigue, nausea, confusion, or shortness of breath.
Congestive heart failure.
The leading cause of hospital visits for people over 65 is heart failure. However, the human body is a magic thing. It is so good at hiding and recovering from heart pumping issues, that a lot of people don’t even know they are having any heart trouble at all! As a doctor, you should be careful to monitor heart rhythms, breathing patterns, and medical histories of your patients…especially ones that are older. Heart attack symptoms are commonly overlooked by doctors leading them to hold the unfavorable nickname, “the silent killer.”
Some things that you should be aware of:
- Indigestion- Indigestion is a common occurrence for a lot of people; but when also paired with jaw chest, or back pain (especially in females) can be a tale-tell heart attack symptom.
- Fatigue- Patients, and people in general, complain of tiredness often. But, when they feel that “they never felt like this before” then it is quite possibly reason for alarm. If you investigate either patients might also include further details like a tingling in their arm.
- Pain in the neck, jaw, or stomach- Unless a patient has sustained an injury in one of these parts of their body, there may be reason to investigate heart failure.
- Weakness- Sometimes you can see a decline in the overall strength and movement in a patient. It is your job to investigate.
Certain types of cancer.
Bladder, pancreatic, lip, and skin cancer are the types that can sometimes be missed by physicians, although they are pretty common. Yellowing of skin, nausea/loss of appetite, changes in stool color, weird moles or spots on skin, blood in urine, and abdominal pain are all things to watch out for in patients. Commonly, blood in urine can be a dead giveaway for bladder cancer but be misdiagnosed as a UTI.