One of the most common forms of medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other health care professional makes a misdiagnosis or fails to properly diagnose an illness or injury. When the lack of a proper diagnosis or a misdiagnosis injures a patient, and the mistake was not one that a reasonable professional would make, the misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Medical misdiagnosis occurs in several different situations.
- A wrong diagnosis is made
- A correct diagnosis is made, but the subtype of the condition isn’t identified
- A correct diagnosis of the immediate condition is made, but the underlying cause is either not diagnosed or incorrectly diagnosed
- The diagnosis of a condition that is similar to the actual condition but not correct
- The diagnosis of a condition that doesn’t exist when the symptoms are actually side-effects from medication
- Misdiagnosis resulting from rare or common diagnoses. A person being diagnosed with “heart disease” for instance instead of the doctor looking for something else less common
All of these types of medical misdiagnoses can be serious, and even fatal.
Why Misdiagnosis is Medical Malpractice
Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose are medical malpractice when the diagnosis error is not one that most reasonable professionals would have made. A new disease that’s extremely rare that has most of the medical community stumped, for instance, would make a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose something that most would have also done, and not grounds for malpractice. But for conditions and injuries that most medical professionals are expected to be familiar with, diagnosis errors are malpractice.
The failure to diagnose a disease or a wrong diagnosis not only sees the patient undergoing expensive and sometimes painful treatment for the wrong problem, but the original condition is allowed to continue unchecked. While sometimes this causes only minor problems and longer recuperation times, it’s easy to see why it could be devastating for some patients.
Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of a cancer, for instance, allows the cancer to continue to grow and possibly spread during a time that it should have been removed and/or treated to prevent its spread and growth. The misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition like meningitis—with the symptoms chalked up to the flu, for instance—could prove fatal very quickly.
When a health care professional fails to diagnose an illness or injury that most reasonable professionals would have correctly diagnosed and that misdiagnosis results in injury to the patient, then medical malpractice is indicated. A lawyer experienced in medical malpractice cases, and especially in misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose malpractice cases, can look at your case and see if a lawsuit is something you will want to pursue.
If you believe you’ve been the victim of malpractice, or you have a loved who was the victim of misdiagnosis, then you should contact a lawyer right away to avoid missing the short time period after the malpractice in which you have to file a suit.
Contact The Law Offices of Kim Parker, P.A., to discuss your options.