What Should I Do if a Friend Was Medically Misdiagnosed?

What Should I Do if a Friend Was Medically Misdiagnosed?

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What Should I Do if a Friend Was Medically Misdiagnosed?

When visiting a doctor, everyone expects to receive the expert care that comes from years of medical training. But unfortunately, some people aren’t given the care and attention they deserve. 
Has a misdiagnosis caused you, a family member, or a friend to suffer pain, an injury, or even death? Then you may wonder what legal options you have.

In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about medical misdiagnoses and their legal consequences. At Morgan & Morgan, we work with many clients in similar situations to yours. 
If you have questions about what to do if a friend was medically misdiagnosed, please get in touch using our convenient online form. We can schedule a free case evaluation to discuss the situation further. 

What Qualifies as a Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis happens when a doctor makes an incorrect assumption about your friend’s symptoms or test results. This is more than a simple mistake; a medical misdiagnosis can have catastrophic consequences. A misdiagnosis might worsen your friend’s condition, delay an accurate diagnosis, and eventually lead to death. 

Failure to diagnose a condition can also qualify as a misdiagnosis. In any case, misdiagnosis is a type of medical negligence that may have legal consequences.

Misdiagnosis may happen at the hands of a doctor, a hospital, or even a pharmacist. But for the situation to be eligible for a lawsuit, direct and quantifiable harm must have occurred. 

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  • How Often Do Medical Misdiagnoses Happen?

    Misdiagnosis is a much more common problem than people realize. Millions of people are affected by it every year. And of those millions, about half of the experiences are potentially harmful. In fact, tens of thousands of people die because of medical misdiagnoses in the U.S. annually.

    While misdiagnosis is a common issue, it’s not often talked about. In addition to harming the victimized patients, it can also ruin careers and set healthcare facilities back. 

    Healthcare facilities that want to reduce their risk of misdiagnosing patients might implement the following procedures:

    • Promoting teamwork between patients, families, and doctors
    • Improving the education of medical staff
    • Using health information technology in an effective way
    • Ensuring that providers learn from previous misdiagnoses
    • Establishing a transparent reporting system
    • Funding future research into diagnostic procedures

    Until more clinics and healthcare facilities dedicate themselves to the behaviors on this list, we will continue to see misdiagnoses happening at alarming rates. 

  • What Are Some of the Most Common Misdiagnoses?

    Unfortunately, misdiagnoses happen far more often than they should. So if you’re wondering what to do if a friend was medically misdiagnosed, you aren’t alone. 

    Although medicine continues to progress, some illnesses remain difficult for doctors to pinpoint. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions in the United States:

    • Lupus
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Lyme disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Celiac disease

    Some illnesses, such as Parkinson’s disease, cannot be diagnosed by lab tests. Instead, a doctor can only make a diagnosis after a clinical examination — leaving room for error. 

    If you are not convinced that your friend’s doctor has made an accurate diagnosis, you should recommend that your friend get a second opinion. 

  • What to Do if a Friend Was Medically Misdiagnosed

    If the misdiagnosis has led to an emergency, rush your friend to a nearby clinic or emergency room. The health and well-being of your friend should always be the number one priority.
    Once the emergency is addressed, call an attorney at Morgan & Morgan. We can advise you on the next best steps. 

    It will be important for your friend to continue with the treatment prescribed by their doctor unless doing so worsens their condition. If your friend files a lawsuit, later on, the court will carefully evaluate the situation to ensure that your friend is not committing fraud by intentionally worsening their condition. 

    If your friend fails to continue treatment and doing so makes them sick, those new conditions will be their responsibility, not the doctor’s. You can learn more about what to do after a misdiagnosis by scheduling your free case evaluation

  • What Does It Take to Prove a Misdiagnosis?

    Proving that your friend experienced a misdiagnosis can be difficult. For starters, you must be able to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. You can’t file a medical malpractice lawsuit because a neighbor who happens to be a doctor made an impromptu diagnosis that turned out to be wrong.

    From there, you will have to prove that the doctor failed to live up to the standard of care your friend was entitled to. Essentially, you must be able to prove that another doctor in similar circumstances would have made a different diagnosis. 

    Finally, you must be able to prove that your friend suffered an injury or death because of the misdiagnosis. 

    Most cases get caught up on the acceptable standard of care issue. If you need help determining whether your friend has a case, a medical malpractice attorney will help. 

    At Morgan & Morgan, we can help you build a case that proves medical malpractice took place. We will talk to other doctors and medical professionals to establish the acceptable standard of care. Then, we’ll inform you what to do if a friend was medically misdiagnosed.

  • What Are the Other Types of Medical Malpractice? 

    By now, it should be clear that medical misdiagnoses are a sub-branch of medical malpractice. So what other situations fall under this legal umbrella? Here are just a few of the common medical malpractice scenarios we help our clients with:

    Failure to Prevent or Treat an Infection

    After surgery, you are at a higher risk of infection. For someone with a compromised immune system, this can prove to be deadly. If you or a friend experience a preventable infection, it could qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit. 

    Anesthesia Mistakes

    Anesthesia is commonly used in hospitals and clinics. But a simple mistake can cause serious side effects and even death. 

    Overdoses of anesthesia have been known to happen. It’s also possible for anesthesia to cause hypoxia and hyperventilation after intubation. In these scenarios, it’s best to consult a medical malpractice attorney.

    Administrative Errors

    Administrative errors are always preventable. Unfortunately, these types of medical malpractice still occur. When medications are prescribed, errors can occur along the way and cause harm. 

    Other examples of administrative errors include the use of faulty equipment, failure to properly screen employees, mismanaging staff, and more. In any of these scenarios, you want a medical malpractice attorney to inform you of your rights. 

    Birth Injuries

    Eight out of every thousand babies born in the United States experience birth injuries. And people from certain minority groups experience a higher rate of birth injuries. Unfortunately, this issue affects thousands of babies and mothers each year. 

    Of course, not every birth injury can be prevented. But these high rates of injury could be greatly reduced if mothers and their babies were treated with more care. 

    Surgical Errors

    Surgical error is nearly a class of lawsuit on its own. Examples include unnecessary surgery, foreign objects left in the patient’s body, and cutting part of the body by mistake. Any one of these scenarios can cause serious trauma and even death. A medical malpractice attorney can advise you further. 

  • What Kinds of Damages Can My Friend Sue for?

    Generally speaking, there are three types of damages available to a victim of medical malpractice. 
    First, your friend may seek general damages, including loss of enjoyment of life, physical pain, mental suffering, and more. 

    Second, your friend may seek economic damages to cover their medical bills or lost wages due to time away from work.

    Finally, your friend may seek punitive damages in very special scenarios. If it appears clear that the practice or doctor behaved maliciously or meant to cause harm, your friend may be entitled to further compensation.

  • What Else Falls Under the Umbrella of Medical Malpractice?

    We covered some of the more common examples of medical malpractice lawsuits. But any harm that is caused by a doctor, hospital, clinic, pharmacy, or any other medical facility could fall under the umbrella of medical malpractice. 

    For example, something as simple as a preventable bedsore could qualify. Misidentifying a patient’s blood type, mislabeling a sperm sample in a fertility center, and failing to administer anesthesia are other examples of medical malpractice. 

  • How Often Do Misdiagnoses Happen?

    Reports vary, but many sources claim that as many as 12 million people are misdiagnosed each year. And that’s in the United States alone. Despite the development and placement of numerous fail-safe programs, misdiagnoses continue to affect the health of millions of Americans. 

  • How Can I Prevent a Misdiagnosis?

    When a doctor or medical facility makes a mistake, there is little you can do to prevent the error from occurring. However, your friend is their own best advocate. So if something feels off or you believe a mistake has been made, encourage them to get a second opinion. 

    Your friend can further prevent a misdiagnosis by providing their doctor with all relevant information. No detail is too small or irrelevant. If your friend has existing conditions or a history of health problems, it is important for their doctor to know and understand all of the details. 

  • How Much Do I Have to Pay an Attorney?

    At Morgan & Morgan, the fee is always free! We work on a contingency basis, so your friend won’t owe us anything until their case is won or settled.

  • Discuss Medical Misdiagnoses With a Morgan & Morgan Attorney

    A medical misdiagnosis can be a complicated issue. To discover what to do if a friend was medically misdiagnosed, turn to the team at Morgan & Morgan. Use our convenient online form to schedule a free case evaluation so we can offer guidance that is specific to your friend’s experience. 

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