According to Johns Hopkins University, approximately 10 percent of all deaths in the United States each year are caused by medical mistakes. If you or a loved one was recently misdiagnosed by a physician, and it led to severe physical harm or even death, you might be wondering if you have a case. Depending on the circumstances of your relationship with the doctor and the facts of the case, you may have the ability to file a lawsuit against the physician. Here is some valuable information for anyone who is considering suing their physician after needlessly suffering from a medical misdiagnosis:
What is the Definition of a Medical Misdiagnosis?
It's not uncommon for doctors to make a mistake with a diagnosis. However, when this mistake leads to a worsening of symptoms, an unnecessary injury, or even death, the issue of misdiagnosis will come into play. Misdiagnosis occurs when your doctor negligently diagnosed your case, didn't provide you with an adequate treatment plan, or you were the victim of a faulty test or equipment.
There is also a difference between misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. A misdiagnosis occurs when the patient is either diagnosed with the wrong treatment and is provided treatment for the wrong disease, rather than receiving the treatment they require. A delayed diagnosis occurs when the doctor simply overlooked symptoms or missed the diagnosis all-together. In order to have a case, the missed diagnosis must be the result of negligence, and the lack of a timely diagnosis must also lead to a worsening in symptoms.
Do I Have a Case?
In order for you to sue your doctor or the medical facility in which you were treated for malpractice, you must meet certain criteria, including:
- You must have a verifiable doctor/patient relationship with the physician
- The doctor's negligence must be the reason your illness was misdiagnosed
- The doctor's negligence and misdiagnosis lead to further injury or a worsening of symptoms
For you to be successful in court, your attorney must prove your doctor was negligent. In order to prove negligence, it must be established that another competent and skilled doctor, if given your symptoms, would have diagnosed your illness or condition in a reasonable amount of time. Additionally, if your doctor didn't perform the necessary tests or didn't take the necessary extra steps to diagnose you correctly, such as seek assistance from specialists in certain fields, this can also be considered negligence.
Another type of negligence occurs when the tests that were performed were inaccurate, and the doctor based the diagnosis on these inaccuracies. For example, if you were given a tests in a machine that was faulty or not properly maintained, this could be grounds for a medical malpractice suit. In this case, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the medical equipment, instead.
Finally, in order for you to file a successful lawsuit, your attorney must prove that the medical misdiagnosis led to a worsening of symptoms or further injury or illness. If the misdiagnosis didn't put you in any additional harm, or your symptoms didn't become worse, you will not have the ability to file a suit against your physician.
What to Do If You Suspect Negligence
If you suspect you were misdiagnosed and that it was caused by your doctor's neglect, and not a simple error made by an otherwise competent professional, don't hesitate to contact an attorney right away. Your attorney will evaluate your case, investigate your claim, and help you determine if you are able to file a lawsuit.
Suffering from a medical misdiagnosis can be devastating. If you suspect you were misdiagnosed and it led to a worsening of your illness, don't hesitate to contact a medical malpractice attorney, such as those at Bennett & Sharp PLLC, right away.