When you think of medical malpractice, you usually think of errors made during a surgery or medical procedure, but there are other forms of malpractice you should be aware of, including misdiagnosis.
Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor or other medical professional fails to correctly diagnose a patient’s condition. This could mean the doctor says nothing is wrong with the patient, or he diagnoses the patient with the wrong condition. When a victim is misdiagnosed, he will not receive the treatment he needs to recover from his condition, and injuries may occur as a result. Victims of medical misdiagnosis may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, future lost wages, and pain and suffering. To learn about your legal options, contact Trial Lawyers for Justice today.
Causes of Medical Misdiagnosis
Medical professionals are trained to analyze each patient’s symptoms, medical history, and test results to make a diagnosis. Misdiagnosis can occur when a doctor:
- Does not accurately read test results.
- Fails to order appropriate tests.
- Does not perform regular screenings.
- Does not ask about the patient’s medical history.
- Ignores the patient’s description of his symptoms.
- Performs an incomplete physical examination.
Unfortunately, some of the most common conditions that are misdiagnosed are serious, including various types of cancer, brain tumors, head injuries, and heart disease. If these conditions are not treated promptly, the patient could suffer long-term consequences due to the misdiagnosis and delay in treatment.
Medical misdiagnosis often occurs in emergency rooms, where doctors are forced to think and make decisions fairly quickly. This is especially true if a patient comes to the emergency room with an uncommon condition or a condition that usually does not affect his or her demographic. For example, if a teenager and middle-aged man are both exhibiting signs of a heart attack, a doctor may be more likely to diagnose the middle-aged man than the teenager, since teenagers rarely have heart attacks.
Proving Your Case
In order to prove medical misdiagnosis, the victim must show:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship between the victim and the medical professional accused of misdiagnosis.
- The doctor acted negligently by not providing appropriate treatment in a timely manner.
- The victim suffered an injury as a result of the misdiagnosis.
It’s important to note if no injury occurred as a result of the misdiagnosis, you may not be able to file a malpractice claim against the medical professional. For example, if you were told a tumor was benign when it was in fact cancerous, a delay in treatment could have led to this cancer spreading to other parts of your body, and thus causing you harm. In this case, you would be able to prove you suffered as a result of the misdiagnosis. However, if you quickly sought a second opinion and received the proper treatment before any harm was done, you may not be able to sue for misdiagnosis.
Proving negligence can be difficult because a misdiagnosis does not automatically prove the doctor behaved negligently. An attorney will need to carefully review the details of your case to determine whether the doctor acted competently when ordering tests, reading results, and making the diagnosis. You must be able to prove that another doctor would have been able to accurately diagnose you based on your symptoms, test results, and medical history in order to prove you are a victim of medical malpractice.
Legal Assistance for Medical Misdiagnosis Victims
Victims of medical misdiagnosis should not suffer in silence. If you or a loved one have been misdiagnosed by a medical professional, contact the attorneys at Trial Lawyers for Justice to discuss your legal options. Call (866) 854-5529 to schedule a free consultation today.