Failure to Diagnose Medical Malpractice
Each year, more than 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed. These numbers translate to approximately 5% of all adult patients or one out of every 20 patients seeking medical assistance. When patients are not diagnosed properly with the correct illness or injury in a timely manner, it can lead to overwhelming pain and suffering. In some cases, a misdiagnosis can have fatal consequences for victims.
In the United States, we see a substantial amount of medical malpractice claims centered on the failure to diagnose and the misdiagnosis of illnesses and injuries. It is essential to understand that not every missed diagnosis and diagnostic error constitutes medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis cases can involve a missed diagnosis, a wrong diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, and situations where medical professionals fail to recognize complications that aggravate an existing condition that a patient suffers from. Working with a failure to diagnose a medical malpractice attorney is a victim’s best bet at getting the justice they deserve.
Our team at The Medical Negligence Group strives to help victims get the justice they deserve after being misdiagnosed with an illness or experiencing a missed diagnosis. Our attorneys are also doctors, which allows us to immediately stop any games the defense tries to play to escape their responsibilities. Our medical malpractice attorneys handle all forms of severe medical negligence and feel it is imperative for victims to reach out to our firm as soon as possible to discuss the particulars on their case and determine what legal options are available.
The Big Three in Medical Misdiagnosis
Although a failure to diagnose can center on any type of injury or illness, there are three major disease categories that account for around 75% of all misdiagnosed cases in the United States. These diseases, dubbed “the big three” include:
- Cancer (37%)
- Vascular Events (22%)
- Infections (13%)
Within these three categories are an array of commonly misdiagnosed illnesses. These include, but are not limited to:
- Heart Attacks
- Blood Clots
- Breast Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
The failure to diagnose any of these conditions can have fatal consequences for patients. All of these conditions require immediate and effective medical treatment. If left untreated, these illnesses can cause organ failure and death.
Proving a Failure to Diagnose Medical Malpractice Case
Every day, people throughout the country experience the debilitating consequences of medical professionals failing to diagnose their medical conditions. In some cases, patients are able to file legal claims against medical professionals based on medical malpractice. In order to succeed in a failure to diagnose medical malpractice lawsuit, it is crucial that victims are able to prove negligence. Although this may seem like an easy task, medical malpractice is a complex area of law, which provokes the use of extensive knowledge in both the legal and medical fields.
Our team at The Medical Negligence Group works diligently to prove medical negligence existed so victims can obtain the compensation they deserve. To do so, it is imperative to verify that the four elements of negligence existed. These elements include establishing that a doctor and patient relationship existed, that the doctor failed to adhere to the standard of care required when diagnosing the patient’s condition and that the failure of the medical professional to provide an accurate and timely diagnosis based on their negligence caused injuries to the patient. The final element involves proving that the failure to diagnose caused injuries that resulted in damages.
One of the most challenging areas of proving negligence involves demonstrating that the medical professional failed to live up to the standard of care. Our lawyers are also doctors, which allows us to refute any misguided arguments presented by the defense. Furthermore, we work with other qualified and respected medical professionals who can provide expert opinions surrounding the misdiagnosis.
During the examination of evidence, expert witnesses play a critical role in reviewing the defendant’s differential diagnosis method. Doctors often make a list of diagnoses in order of probability when trying to diagnose a patient based on observation. They will then use this information to order testing to confirm and rule out conditions. Plaintiffs must use their experience to prove that a doctor in the same or a similar specialty would not have missed the diagnosis had they exercised the proper standard of care and practice in making a diagnosis in a patient.
Causation in a Failure to Diagnose Medical Malpractice Case
Aside from proving that a doctor failed to provide the acceptable standard of care, patients can provide that the doctor failed to order the appropriate tests despite the fact that they knew what condition their symptoms indicated. Not arriving at the correct diagnosis by the end of a differential diagnosis method can have a detrimental impact on a patient’s ability to receive treatment and recover from their illness.
Another cause of medical misdiagnosis focuses on faulty lab and test results. Flawed equipment and human errors are leading causes of failure to diagnose medical malpractice. If a technician administers the test inappropriately, or a secondary doctor misinterprets the testing incorrectly, it can cause a chain reaction of events that ultimately leads to a failure to diagnose. When doctors make an inaccurate diagnosis under these circumstances, it creates a legally pursuable situation. If another hospital staff member makes a mistake, the entire hospital can be held liable for resulting injuries and damages.
One of the most challenging aspects of a medical malpractice case involves proving causation. The Plaintiffs must be able to accurately prove that the misdiagnosis was the direct cause of the injury or illness or that it directly caused the condition to worsen. Not diagnosing a life-threatening condition, like cancer, could cause the disease to spread and become untreatable. Had this condition been detected at the right time, the patient would have had a better prognosis.
Common Causes of Missed and Misdiagnosis
A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose a patient or gives them an inaccurate diagnosis. Either circumstance can lead to the worsening of a patient’s illness or injury. Healthcare professionals can miss a diagnosis for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common factors associated with failure to diagnose medical malpractice include, but are not limited to:
- A failure to collect or take important information into consideration while examining a patient and making a diagnosis
- Poor communication between various healthcare professionals
- Miscommunication between the patient and the medical professional
- The misinterpretation of studies or diagnostic test results
- The over-reliance on negative findings in tests
- Patients failing to disclose relevant information
If your doctor failed to diagnose your condition, or your loved one lost their life as a result of a failure to diagnose, contact our medical malpractice attorneys as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation to help alleviate the costs you face moving forward.
Damages Recovered in Medical Malpractice
Injured victims who file legal claims for failure to diagnose medical malpractice can recover both economic and non-economic damages. Depending on the state, the types and amounts recoverable may change.
The amount of economic damages a person can recover for their legal claim is based on the actual financial burdens they face as a result of the failure to diagnose. These include damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and lost earnings when victims are forced out of work indefinitely. When victims lose their lives as a result of the failure to diagnose, families are able to obtain compensation for funeral services and other end-of-life expenses.
Some of the non-economic damages injured patients can recover are compensation for their pain and suffering, the loss of quality of life, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. Working with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney will ensure you are able to get the compensation and justice you deserve from negligent medical professionals.
The Medical Negligence Group Can Help You
Every year, numerous people suffer life-altering injuries as a result of medical professionals’ failure to diagnose their illnesses or injuries. When patients are not accurately diagnosed in a timely manner, it can prevent them from receiving the medical treatment they need to recover. This can lead to worsening symptoms and, in some cases, cause irreversible damage. If you were harmed as a result of a failure to diagnose medical malpractice incident, it is imperative that you reach out to a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Our team at The Medical Negligence Group has decades of experience fighting to protect the legal rights of victims throughout the United States. Our doctor-lawyers are well-versed in both medical and legal areas, which enables us to thoroughly demonstrate when medical malpractice occurred and successfully rebut any arguments made by the defendant. Our aggressive medical malpractice attorneys fight to ensure victims are fully and fairly compensated so they can get the medical treatment they need and tend to their financial burdens as they move forward. Contact our law firm today at (410) 220-6609. Schedule a free no-obligation consultation with our team at your earliest convenience to discuss legal options available for you.
Gershon, Willoughby & Getz, LLC25 Hooks Lane Suite 304, Baltimore, Maryland 21208