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How can doctors' misimpressions result in misdiagnoses?

The diagnosis process begins as soon as a patient steps in the door of the emergency room or clinic. From their very first interaction, medical professionals are taking note of this interaction, detailing their impressions and suspicions. While this is human nature to be swayed by social interactions, this could lead to deadly mistakes when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of a patient in Ohio and elsewhere.

How can doctors' misimpressions result in dangerous misdiagnoses? With regards to individuals appearing drunk or under the influence of drugs, the reality is that even the most trained medical professionals cannot discern this with their naked eye. An alcoholic might appear sober even though their BAC is high, and an individual with a head trauma or diabetic ketoacidosis can appear drunk when they are completely sober.

Medical staff who are under the impression that a person in under the influence of drugs or not can greatly impact the treatment and care a patient receives. What if these impressions cause a doctor to overlook symptoms or fail to conduct proper testing to reveal the underlying medical problem? IF a person appears to be drunk, it is easy to take this impression over other explanations. And making this mistake could be deadly for some patients.

Some life-threatening conditions have symptoms that could result in a medical professional falsely identifying a patient as intoxicated. This might result in a patient receiving the wrong treatment or no treatment at all. This could risk the life or wellbeing of a patient. Thus, it is imperative that even intoxication of alcohol and drugs be properly diagnosed. Missing that a person is under the influence or jumping to conclusions that a patient is under the influence could risk a patient's life.

If you believe that a medical professional has misdiagnosed you, resulting in medical errors and harms, it is important to understand your rights and legal recourses available to you. A medical malpractice claim could hold this medical professional accountable while also helping you recover compensation for your losses and damages.

Source:, "Doctors and nurses can't always tell if someone's drunk or on drugs, and misdiagnosis can be dangerous," July 4, 2017

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