Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney
Have you or a loved one been injured because of a misdiagnosis, missed, or delayed diagnosis from a doctor? Our experienced team of Medical Malpractice attorneys at Heidari Law Group will help you get compensation for the injustices you have had to suffer.
It’s estimated that nearly 20% of all fatalities caused by illnesses in the United States are due to a misdiagnosis from the victim’s doctor(s). If you are suffering from a particular medical condition and that condition was inaccurately assessed by a medical professional as being another condition or not existing at all, then you were misdiagnosed. However, by itself, a misdiagnosis is not considered to be medical malpractice unless it directly led to serious injury or death for the patient.
Medical misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can lead to stress, anxiety, worsening of a patient’s condition, and even death when their undiagnosed illnesses are left untreated. When the misdiagnosis is due to the negligence or incompetence of a medical professional, then the injured patient may be entitled to recover compensation for their suffering.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Diseases & Illnesses
These are some of the most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions:
- Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack)
- Breast Cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Testicular Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
Misdiagnosis in the medical field is more common than most believe. With many of the most common illnesses that are undiagnosed leading to serious injury or death, medical misdiagnosis costs the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year. In 2016, a study from John Hopkins showed that medical errors were the third-highest cause of death in the United States, only trailing behind heart disease and cancer.
Types of Medical Misdiagnosis
- Misdiagnosis (Wrong Diagnosis) – This type of medical malpractice occurs when a doctor examines a patient and determines that they have the wrong illness. This is especially problematic in cases such as heart attack or stroke where the threat to the patient’s life tends to be immediate. Misdiagnosis can lead to the prescribing of the wrong drugs, the wrong treatments, or the use of treatments that can worsen the patient’s condition. Because misdiagnosis causes the real illness to remain untreated, the consequences of such mistakes can lead to years of suffering, serious injuries, or even death for the patient. If a reasonable, competent doctor would have created a list with the correct diagnosis on it, then the doctor in question may have acted negligently if they failed to do so under the same circumstances.
- Delayed Diagnosis or Failure to Diagnosis in a Reasonable Amount of Time – The doctor fails to make the correct diagnosis right away, but eventually makes the right diagnosis of the illness. This is the most common type of diagnostic error in these medical malpractice cases. When it comes to treating time-critical illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, or cancer, a delay in diagnosis can directly lead to serious injury or death as a result.
- Missed Diagnosis – These types of misdiagnoses occur when there was no diagnosis made even though the patient was suffering from some sort of illness. The reason for missing the diagnosis is not always the doctor’s fault, and for cases where it is due to faulty equipment or bad data from a lab technician, the equipment manufacturer or the lab tech may be able to be held responsible instead.
- Failure to Diagnose Related or Unrelated Disease – In these cases, the doctor does make a correct diagnosis of the primary condition, but fails to diagnosis another disease that the patient is suffering from. A missed diagnosis can be considered to be negligent for a related disease if it has a high incidence of occurrence in patients with the primary disease. A missed diagnosis of an unrelated disease is not always considered to be negligence.
- Failure to Recognize Complications – The doctor correctly diagnoses the primary condition of the patient but fails to recognize the factors or complications which aggravate or worsen the illness.
Harm That Can Result from Misdiagnosis
Many different types of harm can befall a patient when they have been misdiagnosed. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Unnecessary surgery
- Increased risk of complications or death
- Unnecessary exposure to potentially harmful treatments, such as in the case with chemotherapy or radiation for a misdiagnosed cancer.
- Side effects from taking unnecessary drugs as treatment
- Risk of death
Elements Involved in Proving Medical Malpractice in a Missed, Delayed, or Wrong Diagnosis Case
These three elements must be proven in a medical malpractice case to show that the doctor was responsible for the patient’s injury:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship that existed before the diagnosis.
- The doctor acted negligently in the sense that they did not provide treatment in a reasonably competent and skilled manner.
- The negligent actions of the doctor caused the patient to suffer injury.
The key is that the doctor must have acted negligently in some way that caused injury to the patient for it to be considered malpractice. In most cases, the second, the third, or a combination of the two elements is proven to create a winning case for the injured patient.
Proving Negligence in Misdiagnosis Cases
There are a number of ways in which doctors can act in a negligent way when diagnosing a patient, but regardless of how bad a victim’s injuries are, it still must be able to be proven that those injuries were caused by negligence on part of the physician or the medical staff. To prove that the doctor was negligent, the patient will need to show that:
- The doctor failed to perform the proper tests to rule out likely possibilities before arriving at a definitive diagnosis, or
- The doctor did not include all of the potentially likely illnesses in their differential diagnosis list where a competent and knowledgeable doctor would have in the same situation, or
- The doctor did not perform their differential diagnosis of the patient properly.
In most cases, an expert witness needs to be brought to the stand to give testimony on how the doctor employed differential diagnosis and whether or not it was performed correctly.
Once it has been established that the doctor acted in a negligent way, then the patient’s legal team can begin proving causation that the misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis directly led to the patient’s injuries. This can be done by showing that if the right diagnosis was made, the injuries or suffering would not have occurred in the first place.
Compensation Awarded in Medical Malpractice Cases
An experienced team of medical malpractice lawyers can help victims recover compensation for a variety of different damages they’ve suffered as a result. This can include compensation for:
- Physical damages
- Emotional suffering
- Hospital & medical bills
- Lost wages
- Losses in earning capacity
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium & affection
- Possible punitive damages
Contact an Experienced Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney Today
If you believe that you or someone in your family has been injured because of a medical misdiagnosis, contact us at Heidari Law Group today for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to recover significant compensation for the injustices you’ve suffered at the hands of a doctor’s negligence. Our team of medical malpractice lawyers has recovered millions on behalf of our clients and their families and we look forward to being able to help you get the justice you deserve.