The Importance of Diagnosing Injuries Properly

Injuries, as unfortunate as they are, can be somewhat inevitable in a person’s life. Accidents happen, and if complications arise regarding an injury, it can be incredibly difficult to properly diagnose and furthermore treat said injury.

About eight years ago I sustained a foot injury. It was pretty bad at the time, and when I visited the local emergency room after it happened, I was told it was a severe sprain. I was on crutches for about six weeks, and after it supposedly “healed” I went back to my everyday activities and exercise, including playing rugby. My foot was still bothering me to a rather serious extreme, so over the next few years, I saw four or five doctors in hopes of finding some further answers regarding why I was still in so much pain. Eventually, I simply gave up, however, my foot was incredibly vulnerable and would sprain at the slightest motion. Earlier this month my mom booked me to see an orthopedic surgeon in Niagara Falls named John Ostrowski, a specialist who has actually performed surgery on both of my dad’s knees. He looked at my foot for approximately five minutes, reviewed the x-ray and MRI records I brought with me, and told me there was a fragment of bone that had broken off during the initial trauma to my foot. He scheduled me for a CT scan of my foot, and when I saw him a few days ago he informed me that there are actually two fragments of bone suspended in my foot and that the ligaments are quite damaged. I am booked for surgery this coming December, and had I not finally been diagnosed properly by Dr. Ostrowski, I likely would have been in pain for the rest of my life.

My own experiences with misdiagnoses are unfortunate, however I would argue that misdiagnoses are quite common within the medical system. I realize errors can occur, but considering I saw so many doctors prior to seeing Dr. Ostrowski and none of them were able to correctly diagnose and furthermore treat my injury, I find the way my injurt was handled to be quite poor. One specialist actually told me that my pain was “in my head” and attempted to accuse me of making up my injury. Acknowledging the amount of error that can occur in the health system, from medical professionals you arguably trust, is quite concerning, and it prompts me to inquire as to how the system can be improved.

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