Have You Been Injured Due to a Misdiagnosis?
Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Offer Free Legal Advice
One of the most common types of medical malpractice is misdiagnosis. Health care professionals often misdiagnose or fail to diagnose various diseases. The misdiagnosis of cancer is one of the most common types of misdiagnoses. Many types of doctor negligence that occur include ordering incorrect or unnecessary tests, not recognizing typical symptoms, or incorrectly evaluating test results.
Cancer misdiagnosis includes diagnosing a patient with cancer when the patient does not have cancer. The doctor often starts the patient on a rigorous treatment plan, such as radiation or chemotherapy, which causes unnecessary suffering and financial hardship. Sometimes these treatments can result in death. The most commonly misdiagnosed cancer is breast cancer.
What are the Statistics on Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common types of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a common cause of injury around the world and in the United States. Medical malpractice occurs when the exercise of medical judgment is done negligently, causing injury or damage to the patient; this includes failing to provide a reasonable degree of skill and care to a patient. If a medical professional’s treatment fails to meet something called the “standard of care”, it qualifies as medical malpractice, or in this case, misdiagnosis.
Let’s go over some important misdiagnosis statistics:
- Around 12 million people are misdiagnosed every year, with 28% of these being life-altering or life-threatening misdiagnoses (BMJ Quality and Safety).
- Cancer makes up nearly half of all misdiagnoses, with breast cancer being the most commonly misdiagnosed (Johns Hopkins Medicine).
- Nearly half of the cases in which breast cancer patients obtained a second opinion resulted in changes of interpretation (BreastCancer.org).
- 88% of people who seek a second opinion leave with a changed or refined diagnosis (Mayo Clinic).
- Medical malpractice is the third most common cause of death in the United States (Johns Hopkins Medicine).
Who is Responsible for a Misdiagnosis?
The responsible parties for misdiagnosis are fairly straightforward. Obviously the doctor who issued the misdiagnosis should be held liable, but other health professionals may be involved as well. However, the litigation process for medical malpractice lawsuits can be complex. Depending on the circumstances of the injury, several parties may be involved in your particular case. These may include:
- The doctor who diagnosed you. Healthcare professionals including cardiologists, dermatologists, gastroenterologists, gynecologists, neonatologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons, obstetricians, oncologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedic surgeons, pediatricians, urogynecologists, urologists, vascular surgeons, and more may be held liable for damages incurred as a result of a misdiagnosis. It’s important to note that to prove a misdiagnosis case, there must be evidence of a patient-doctor relationship in which you were specifically examined and diagnosed by the doctor accused.
- Hospitals. A hospital may be held liable due the negligence of its employees, including a doctor exhibiting negligence by misdiagnosis. When a hospital hires medical staff, they are responsible for making sure they only hire applicants with sufficient training and experience. They are also required to ensure full-staffing and fair treatment of their staff to reduce the amount of exhaustion-related mistakes which might otherwise occur. To fail to do is negligent and can result in harm for their patients. Additionally, if a hospital fails to follow the diagnosis of a patient given by that patient’s primary care provider, they may be held liable for ensuing damages.
- Health maintenance organizations. Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are a kind of alternative to traditional health insurance which may offer a lower monthly premium and has its own specific network of medical providers. Similar to how a hospital may be held liable for their doctors negligence in misdiagnosing, if an HMO is accused of including or retaining an unqualified healthcare professional in their network, they may be liable for any misdiagnosis/medical malpractice which occurs as a result.
Do You Have a Claim for an Injury Due to Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis usually occurs when a patient is suffering from a rare disease or even a common one that simply doesn’t exhibit the usual symptoms. In these cases, it is easy for healthcare professionals to lump in a patient’s symptoms with more commonly seen conditions. Some common health conditions which are frequently misdiagnosed for these reasons include heart attacks, celiac disease, fibromyalgia, and thyroid conditions. When a misdiagnosis of one of these or other conditions occurs, the consequences can be painful and far-reaching for the patient and their family.
Depending on the nature of you or your family member’s injuries due to misdiagnosis, your personal injury lawyer may identify possible claims for:
- Medical expenses. Common injuries resulting from misdiagnosis vary widely but may include injuries due to incorrect dosage; unnecessary/traumatic injuries; and, in the worst case scenario, death.
- Lost wages (or impairment of earning capacity) as a result of extended hospital stay-time, or, for the loved one of a misdiagnosis victim, the necessity to temporarily or permanently extricate themselves from work in order to provide care.
- Lifecare expenses, such as life support or ongoing medical expenses for chronic injuries.
- Vocational rehabilitation.
- Pain and suffering, for both emotional and physical distress.
- Wrongful death.
- Funeral expenses.
If you were injured by a doctor’s misdiagnosis or if a loved one was killed by a misdiagnosis, you need a personal injury attorney that understands the emotional and physical toll these errors can take. An experienced attorney will be aggressive in seeking the compensation that you deserve.