Doctors have a duty to their patients to act competently and abide by set medical standards of care. The laws of medical malpractice are used when doctors fail to meet this standard, causing their patients injury or harm.
A medical misdiagnosis can result in a patient needing lifelong treatment or suffering debilitating damage or even death. In the United States, 12 million people are medically misdiagnosed every year. If you think you or a loved one has suffered or died because of a medical misdiagnosis, consider hiring a lawyer to help you bring a misdiagnosis lawsuit against the doctor or hospital staff.
A medical misdiagnosis is when a doctor or a medical professional diagnoses a patient incorrectly. Common diseases misdiagnosed by doctors include cancer, stroke, and meningitis.
Some examples of a medical misdiagnosis include:
Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis are both types of medical malpractice. In a medical misdiagnosis, the doctor diagnoses you with the wrong condition. As in the above example, if a doctor diagnoses a patient’s headache as a migraine instead of what it actually was — a stroke — this would be a misdiagnosis.
In contrast, a delayed diagnosis is when the doctor fails to diagnose a condition at all. The condition then gets significantly worse, making treatment less effective. For example, suppose a patient goes to his doctor for constant lethargy. The doctor orders a blood test and sees that his kidney levels are off. The doctor does not say anything until the patient comes back several months later. This time the doctor diagnoses the patient with kidney failure and the patient now needs dialysis.
In the first example, the doctor incorrectly concluded that the patient had a migraine when it was actually a stroke. In the second example, the patient experienced delays in treatment because the doctor did not diagnose their kidney failure right away.
Medical professionals can make these diagnostic errors. Common errors in diagnosis include the following:
Symptoms are similar to the symptoms of other medical conditions
Poor and ineffective communication between the medical professionals and the patient, as well as themselves
Failing to order certain diagnostic tests or to confer with different specialists
Incompetence in reading test results
Failing to incorporate a patient’s medical history into the diagnosis
To know if you have a medical misdiagnosis case, you need to hire a medical malpractice lawyer. They will be able to determine if your case meets the following criteria needed to prove a medical malpractice claim:
First, you must be able to show that the doctor owed you a duty of care. All doctors and medical professionals owe duties of care to their patients. This means you must be able to prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. To do this, you need to show that the doctor or medical professional accused of medical misdiagnosis was involved in the medical decisions.
Next, you must show that the duty of care was breached. You can do this by illustrating the standards of care that medical professionals are required to follow. You must prove that another doctor would not have come to the same conclusion and would have correctly diagnosed the medical condition.
Harm Was Caused in Return
Lastly, you must prove that you were harmed. This harm needs to be the direct result of the breach in the standard of care.
Misdiagnosis is serious. It can delay the correct diagnosis, cause delays in treatments, and may even lead to a death-threatening situation. Misdiagnosis is considered medical malpractice because of the severe complications it can cause for the harmed individual.
One of the main issues with misdiagnosis is that in discharging the patient with a wrong condition, the real condition is not treated. This is especially problematic for some conditions that require an early diagnosis to receive effective treatment.
If a patient is misdiagnosed, they will not receive the correct medical treatment, which could lead to more serious complications.
Without receiving proper medical attention, the patient’s condition may worsen over time, possibly delaying treatment to the point that it is no longer effective. For example, early diagnosis of cancer is imperative for a patient to have a positive outcome. If too much time goes by without a proper diagnosis, the patient's condition could potentially affect their quality of life or lead to an early death.
If you think you or a loved one were the victims of medical misdiagnosis, contact Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, LLC immediately. Under Connecticut law, the time to file a medical malpractice claim (the statute of limitations) is within two years from the negligent act. If the injury was not present at the time of the medical misdiagnosis, then you have two years from the date of discovery of the injury or two years from when you should have discovered the injury to bring a misdiagnosis lawsuit.
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At Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that we do not get paid unless and until you receive a settlement or a jury award.
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