On the evening of Jan. 18, the parents of Twitter user @LetsSaveMatthew began to tell his very detailed story of his saga to find a diagnosis to figure out what is happening to him. After dealing with a year of chronic chest pains that increasingly got worse over time and resulted in him passing out, his mother took him to a local hospital in Mississauga located in Ontario, Canada in December 2017. Following a few tests and scans, Matthew was told he was probably stressed and told to go back home. The next day, the pain returned and was accompanied by shortness of breath that evolved into a diagnose of Pericarditis. Even after the diagnosis and medicine were given to him, his chest pains were soon to be accompanied by other symptoms that made being awake unbearable. Over the course of the next few weeks, Matthew began to have trouble with his vision, resulting in spending New Year’s Eve in a dark room with sunglasses and earplugs on, because the light around him looked like he was staring directly into the sun and anything above a whisper would hurt his eardrums. As many users read through Matthews thread, they too sympathized with him for not only his story, but also with the similar pain that they experienced.
Tweet after tweet came in with many individuals restating the same thing as Matthew, they too went to the hospital only to have symptoms dismissed from the doctors, their mystery illnesses that kept on reoccurring time and time again only getting worse. Each time they went to a doctor, they were diagnosed with things like anxiety. This shows a lack of concern for patients and their overall well-being. Some doctors believe that patients over-exaggerate their symptoms or are lying to receive medication.When doctors ignore their patients’ symptoms, they not only put the health of their patient at risk, but also their lives.
Every year, at least one in twenty people in America alone will be misdiagnosed by a doctor, which results in over 250,000 deaths per year. The Journal of Patient Safety estimates this number may be much higher, estimating at a whopping number of 440,000 patients. Far too many people go to emergency rooms and hospitals for explanations for symptoms that they experience only to have them brushed off by doctors or their pleas for further investigation ignored.
Even though the Western world produces high-level medications and procedures that have cured many deadly diseases in the past fifty years, the medical system is poorly maintained. Sometimes, doctors who are not properly licensed to practice medicine in their particular field go unchecked for years before an incident might occur. Some hospitals even forget to even revoke doctors license for malpractice.
From 2001 to 2011, nearly 6,000 doctors had their license revoked for misconduct regarding patient care, but more than half of those doctors were never fined for their actions. Patient safety is oftentimes overlooked when hospitals are eager to the hire an individual during peak seasons in the hospital. If a doctor’s schedule is full of other patients at a time that a new patient is introduced to their rotation, they might be overlooked and swept underneath the rug, given a quick check to get the patient out of the doctor’s hair.
The number of patients that are misdiagnosed yearly should be considered a problem in not only our society, but the medical community. Too many people are losing their lives to the hands of those meant to protect our well-being. A microscope must be held over the medical elite in our society so that more individuals do not fall through the cracks of the health care system.