Medical Malpractice: Cases of Misdiagnosis

With the increase in technological advancements in hospitals and physicians offices around the country, it seems that misdiagnosis would not be a common problem. According to a survey taken by the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF), 40% of patients that reported some kind of medical error attributed the reason to be misdiagnosis or failure to perform the correct treatment. Many malpractice cases deal with serious illnesses, injuries or diseases that if not treated right away can lead to life-altering consequences.

Requirements of a Claim for Failure to Diagnose

Patients must have viable proof and reason before bringing a case of medical malpractice to a level requiring litigation. There are certain factors that must be met before a patient can seek compensation and claim misdiagnosis as the reason for their pain and suffering.

Existence of Doctor-Patient Relationship at Time of Diagnosis
There does not have to be any formal contract or agreement between a doctor and a patient in order for there to be a relationship. As long as the patient is being examined or treated by a physician it is considered to be some form of relationship. It is up to the physician to provide the necessary care to any and all patients that come to him or her seeking medical assistance. They are to recognize potential health problems and work to treat anything they find to be suspicious. In the event that this requirement is not met, there may be a claim for medical malpractice in the form or misdiagnosis.

Error on the Doctor's Part Reached the Level of Negligence
A doctor acts out of negligence when he or she does not perform necessary care that any other physician would have granted the patient. This may be somewhat difficult to prove and it is almost essential that a competent lawyer who can adequately investigate the situation for evidence be brought on in these types of cases. Often times, an attorney will hire on a medical professional to show how another medical professional would have handled the case, thereby revealing that the doctor in question did not comply with medical standards.

After a doctor has given substantial reasoning behind what is considered reasonable care of a patient, it is then up to the patient to prove that their doctor did not provide that level of care. Below is a list of a few ways in which a physician may not meet up to the standard:

  • Failure to perform or research the results of a test, which then affects determining a possible diagnosis
  • When recording the initial differential diagnosis possibilities, he or she failed to include a vital potential medical issue
  • Not acting in urgency for cases that need immediate medical attention
  • Fault on the part of a nurse to not prepare the patient properly before a diagnostic test, resulting in altered diagnosis results

Doctors have a certain medical code that they must adhere to including paying close attention to every aspect of the medical process from diagnosis to treatment. Any miscalculations, misread charts or other faulty information that ends up leading to harmful consequences for a patient can result in serious penalties for the practicing physician. It is their job and their duty to supervise every step of their patient's medical journey and mistakes that could alter the patient's future are not acceptable.

Serious Harm was Endured by the Patient as a Result of the Negligence
It is up to the patient and his or her lawyer to prove not only that the doctor did not meet up to a certain level of care, but that by doing so they caused their patient serious suffering. This is where it can be tricky to prove because it must be revealed that the harm or pain was a direct result of the doctor's negligence and not because of any other factors. Damage to the individual can result in a few different ways, including:

  • Financial expenses for medical bills
  • Loss of income from inability to work
  • General discomfort, suffering and pain
  • Inability to have the same quality of life as they did prior to the doctor's negligent actions

There are of course additional ways in which someone may experience hardships at the hand of a doctor's failure to diagnose a symptom. Contact an attorney if you believe that you have a valid case.

Common Types of Misdiagnosis Errors

Mistakes happen, but in the medical field a simple error can result in devastating problems for the patient. It is beneficial to be aware of these issues to make certain that you or your loved ones do not fall victim to a preventable disease or medical condition. The following are the five most common illnesses or problems that doctors either fail to diagnose or misdiagnose:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • General cases of infection
  • Pulmonary Emboli
  • Neoplasm (Tumors often determined to be cancerous)
  • Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)

Take action before it is too late if you have had to deal with diseases or disorders that have changed your lifestyle as a result of misdiagnosis. It is the responsibility of each doctor to adequately research and look into each patient's symptoms before they ignore certain diagnoses. Speak to Attorney Ward at our firm who has been included in the list of Washington's Super Lawyers® as an accomplished and reliable legal representative. He has had experience obtaining millions on behalf of individuals dealing with a personal injury claim. Contact our firm to learn more and see what we can do to help you right away!

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