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Can You Sue a Doctor for Failure to Diagnose?

Can I sue my doctor for wrong diagnoses? Can I sue my doctor for a delayed diagnosis? These are two common questions that we hear at The Injury Firm. Fortunately, measures are in place to protect patients from such occasions. Today, we want to provide advice for those who have been in this position (or those reading on behalf of lost loved ones).

What Is Medical Misdiagnosis?

When researching this topic, you’re likely to see several different phrases including delayed diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and wrong diagnosis. Essentially, they all point to the same problem - failure on the part of the medical professional. For example, both misdiagnosis and wrong diagnosis describe cases where medical professionals guess incorrectly when treating a patient. As you can imagine, this has the potential to be fatal.

As a basic example, let’s say that a medical professional fails to identify cancer in a patient. Not only does the patient fail to get the right treatment, but something serious like cancer is time-sensitive so the issue gets worse. In many cases, patients are given the wrong medication, and this can also bring side effects.

Elsewhere, the term delayed diagnosis describes a situation whereby the medical professional fails to pick up on a health problem quickly enough. Once again, you can imagine the implications this has for somebody with a serious health problem that needs fast treatment.

Why is Medical Misdiagnosis So Damaging?

In short, it causes the following issues:

  • Leaves the real problem untreated
  • Makes conditions worse
  • Causes side effects with the incorrect medication/treatment
  • Can lead to serious harm

As you will have seen in the title, this article also covers suing doctors for failure to diagnose, and this is just as damaging. In some cases, medical professionals may not pick up on a serious health problem at all. Once again, these damaging effects are experienced by the patient.

Most Common Medical Misdiagnoses and Causes

According to some reports, as many as one in twenty people are misdiagnosed. While this might not sound significant, it could mean that 5% of people who seek medical treatment walk away with the wrong diagnosis (or no diagnosis at all!). Here are just some of the most common misdiagnoses:

  • Heart attack (panic attack, indigestion)
  • Asthma (bronchitis)
  • Parkinson’s (stroke, stress, Alzheimer’s)
  • Lyme disease (depression, flu, mononucleosis)
  • Lupus (rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia)
  • Staph infection (flu)
  • Stroke (migraine)

Why is misdiagnosis such a huge problem in the United States and all over the world? Sometimes, cases are incredibly difficult to solve. When making a claim/case, much of the success will depend on the actions of the medical professional. If they followed all the correct steps, compensation is difficult to obtain because an impartial expert witness would claim that they did their best with the information given.

On the other hand, compensation is possible where doctors are negligent. They could misinterpret test results, not check for particular health issues, not listen to patients’ symptoms properly, not refer to specialists, botch tests or results, or not get all the relevant information from the patient.

Preventing Medical Misdiagnosis

In the next section, we’ll deal with questions like can I sue my doctor for misdiagnosis? For now, how can you prevent misdiagnosis as a patient? Ask questions and persist with medical professionals if your condition isn’t improving, write down terms you don’t understand or ask for clarification, ask for a second opinion, see a specialist, or ask for possible other diagnoses so that you’re aware early.

We understand that you shouldn’t have to take these steps, but the sheer number of medical misdiagnosis cases shows that these steps could prevent lots of damage and stress.

Can I Sue My Doctor for Wrong Diagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis?

When entering this legal field, the first thing to know is that it’s an intricate, complex web to navigate. Therefore, we highly recommend contacting the medical malpractice lawyers at The Injury Firm for help as soon as possible if you think that you’re entitled to compensation.

Generally speaking, doctors aren’t always held responsible for problems with diagnosis. Mistakes happen, most doctors work hard and try their best, and many follow all the information and act responsibly and cautiously. Consequently, the patient needs to prove that the medical malpractice could have (and potentially should have) been avoided.

For example, we’ll help you to prove that there was a relationship between yourself (or a loved one) as a patient and the medical professional. Once this is proven, this cements a duty of care since all medical professionals have a minimum duty of care toward patients. Therefore, we then need to prove that the doctor was negligent in some way and that this negligence caused injuries, suffering, or even death.

In most delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis cases, the first two steps are easy. It’s easy to prove that the doctor attempted to treat you and that they, by extension, had a duty of care. As a result, the success of the case depends on our ability to prove negligence and your injuries.

We saw examples of negligence before, and we’ll use all our years of experience to build a strong case that proves it. As well as documentation and medical reports, we’ll use expert testimonies. Here, an expert in the field will testify that the doctor didn’t act as expected. Hopefully, they will claim that a responsible medical professional would have acted differently and that this could have led to a different outcome.

When suing a doctor for failure to diagnose, we also need to prove injuries, pain, and suffering, aggravation of a condition, complications, unnecessary surgery, avoidable treatment, or other damages. With The Injury Firm, you’ll have an experienced medical malpractice attorney who understands how to build a strong case.

Whether you’ve suffered or a loved one has passed away, we recommend getting in touch today. Although the statute of limitations may allow some time to file a case, it’s best to contact early to stand a stronger chance of obtaining compensation!

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