One of the first things doctors and other healthcare providers ask patients is whether they have a family history of any diseases or conditions that could pose a threat to their health or present complications in treatment. In order to answer these questions accurately, it is important for patients to spend the time speaking with older family members and relatives, compiling an accurate family health history. Having accurate records is important both in preventing and treating illnesses, and can also help prevent medical errors and mistakes. The following provides information on how your family health history can help you get the care you need, while providing resources available to guide through the process.

How Your Family History Could Aid In Diagnosis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), having a complete and accurate family health history benefits patients in several ways. Knowing what to be on the lookout for can not only help prevent medical errors and misdiagnosis, it can also help doctors diagnose conditions before they have a chance to advance, as well as enabling preventative measures that may be able to help you avoid contracting certain conditions in the first place.   Many types of medical ailments, health conditions, and diseases run in families, and having a complete family health history benefits patients of all ages and stages of life:

  • Childhood: Your health history can help your physician be aware of certain genetic or hereditary conditions which your child may be vulnerable to.
  • Early 20s and 30s: Early warnings of conditions that run in your family, such as heart problems or cancer, can allow preventative measures to be taken and alerts doctors to the types of diagnostic tests to perform.
  • Adults in their 40s and 50s: Information on overall lifespan, causes of death, and degenerative diseases that run in your family can help doctors better monitor your health, while alerting them to medical interventions that may be needed.

The CDC states that a completed family health history is also important for women who are pregnant or who are planning on getting pregnant in the future, providing valuable information on conditions that can easily be avoided provided the appropriate interventions or treatments are given.

Making Sure Your Health History Is Accurate

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), advances in genetic medicines to explain and treat diseases make having a completed, accurate family health history all the more important, The AMA offers various toolkits for the types of information to be included in your family history,  and emphasizes the importance of talking to older family members to get the most complete and accurate information, rather than relying on your own memories or speculation. You can download forms and brochures to help you fill out your family history on the AMA website, or use Family Health Portrait, a tool from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that allow users to gather and save family health information online.

Contact Us for Assistance 

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a medical error or mistake, contact our experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we provide effective, aggressive legal representation to hold negligent medical providers accountable for their actions. We can advise you on the best course of action to get compensation for your injuries, while ensuring your rights and best interests are protected.