People trust their doctors and medical professionals to provide high-quality care. Patients should rest assured that their doctors are acting in their best interests.
Because of this, doctors are required to uphold a certain reasonable standard of care. When they fail to do so, they should be held accountable.
Doctors are only human, and mistakes can happen. But in some cases, physicians’ errors are severe enough to constitute medical negligence.
One type of medical negligence is misdiagnosis. Many examples of misdiagnosis qualify as medical malpractice. If you or someone you love has been harmed by a misdiagnosis, do not hesitate.
The compassionate attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have won countless cases involving misdiagnosis and medical malpractice. We have the skills and specialized knowledge to effectively fight for you.
We know that medical malpractice victims have enough financial burdens. That is why we provide a no-cost case evaluation to discuss all your legal options.
Complete the easy-to-use contact form on the Morgan & Morgan website to schedule your free legal consultation today.
Many medical malpractice claims and lawsuits are the result of misdiagnosis. Legal disputes also arise as the result of delayed diagnosis.
A misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional mischaracterizes or misidentifies your illness or condition. Some examples of misdiagnosis occur because the doctor misreads medical test results.
In many cases, misdiagnosis results in incorrect or delayed treatment. This can cause the patient’s condition or illness to worsen. In rare examples of misdiagnosis, the harm to patients is fatal.
When this happens, patients or their families have the right to seek financial compensation for the losses associated with the incorrect diagnosis.
Common Examples of Misdiagnosis
Some research suggests that nearly 5% of all patients experience misdiagnosis at some point in their lives. Those patients face the possibility of unnecessary medical harm.
Some illnesses and conditions are misidentified more often than others. Some common examples of misdiagnosis include:
- Lupus, which is often mistaken for chronic fatigue syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease, which can be confused with stroke or Alzheimer’s
- Lyme disease, which might be mistaken for flu or depression
- Heart attack, commonly mistaken for panic attack or indigestion
- Asthma, which could be confused with recurring bronchitis
These are only a few types of misdiagnoses that might lead to harm for patients. Any time a patient fails to receive the correct treatment or undergoes needless procedures, misdiagnosis can result in damage.
Where Should I Go if I Have Been Misdiagnosed?
If your condition worsens after seeing a doctor or following a physician’s treatment recommendation, you may worry that you have been misdiagnosed.
For any medical emergency, go to an emergency room as soon as possible. Your first priority should always be your physical health and safety.
After you are sure that you are in no medical danger, speak with a qualified medical malpractice attorney. Having a lawyer oversee your case from the beginning will ensure the best possible outcome.
If you hope to secure compensation from a medical malpractice claim, you should:
- Adhere to your doctor’s orders unless your condition worsens
- Avoid waiting for care if you need additional medical treatment
- Avoid purposefully allowing your condition to worsen
Taking these actions will help to mitigate the damages in your case. When you file a legal claim, your actions will be examined to ensure that you took the proper steps.
For example, a jury will want to make certain that your case is not one of the many examples of misdiagnosis fraud. Allowing your illness or condition to become worse on purpose is fraudulent and illegal.
In medical malpractice cases, patients can hold their doctors accountable for the harms that the misdiagnosis caused. However, any new injuries or conditions are the responsibility of the patient.
When you or someone you love has suffered harm from a misdiagnosis, talk to a skilled malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Misdiagnosis
Because many examples of misdiagnosis result in severe harm, it is crucial to take steps to prevent medical mistakes.
By taking the following steps, you can help to reduce the risk that you will be misdiagnosed:
- Ask questions if your condition does not improve
- Get a second opinion from another medical professional
- Write notes during the conversations with your doctor
- Ask about possible alternative diagnoses that match your symptoms
- Search for a trusted physician through reviews or recommendations
- Schedule an appointment with a specialist
While prevention is the best approach, medical negligence can happen to anyone. When you have suffered damage because of your doctor’s medical negligence, it is important to hold them accountable.
Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim for Misdiagnosis
When you want to seek financial recovery through a malpractice claim, the first step is to consult with a medical negligence lawyer. A qualified legal professional will carefully examine the facts of your case.
They will use their specialized knowledge to help you make the best decision for you. During your initial consultation, the attorney will ask questions to better understand your situation and chart your legal options.
This first meeting is an excellent opportunity to ask any questions that you have regarding the legal process or the specifics of your case. Make sure to bring any relevant paperwork or documentation to the case evaluation.
Remember, attorney-client privilege does not apply unless you hire a legal representative. That is why it is so important to find a trustworthy attorney to represent you.
Proving Misdiagnosis and Medical Negligence
Not every instance of misdiagnosis qualifies as medical negligence. For a claim to qualify, the misdiagnosis must have directly caused some harm to the patient.
Consider the following example. Suppose that your friend is misdiagnosed with migraines when they actually have the flu. If your friend sustains an injury in a car accident the next day, they do not have a valid medical negligence case.
In this example, the harm arose from circumstances unrelated to the misdiagnosis. However, many instances of inaccurate diagnoses do cause harm to patients.
To sue for medical malpractice, you must prove that the doctor was “negligent” through the following four legal criteria:
Duty of Care
You must show that your physician had a duty of care to you, their patient. This duty of care is standard in most doctor-patient relationships.
Patients should be able to trust that their care provider will act as a reasonably competent physician.
Breach of Duty
Did your medical care provider breach their duty of care? Again, not every misdiagnosis qualifies as medical negligence.
To prove a breach of duty, you will need to demonstrate that another competent doctor would have acted differently. Specifically, you must show that another competent physician would have accurately diagnosed your condition.
You will need to substantiate that the doctor’s behavior caused harm to you. Proving that you suffered harm is not enough.
You must show that the harm you sustained was the result of your misdiagnosis.
To prove negligence, you will need to show that the misdiagnosis was the cause of damages.
For instance, did you undergo painful or dangerous treatment because you were misdiagnosed? Did you fail to start treatment early and lose valuable time?
These four criteria are necessary to prove medical negligence. Showing that you were the victim of malpractice will usually involve collecting relevant paperwork and medical documentation.
A skilled personal injury attorney will help you to gather the evidence that you need. This evidence will:
- Support your malpractice claim
- Show that you had a doctor-patient relationship with your physician
- Provide evidence of medical negligence
- And more
Doctors, hospitals, and other medical care providers should release your records upon request. If you face any resistance, talk with your attorney.
No matter what the circumstances of your misdiagnosis may be, you deserve representation. Speaking with an accomplished medical malpractice lawyer will give you the best chance of a positive resolution in your case.
You should not have to face the financial and emotional burdens of your condition alone. If you are wondering where to go following a misdiagnosis, schedule a free consultation with an attorney.