When a doctor incorrectly diagnoses a condition and it leads to patient harm, they may be eligible to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. Misdiagnosis is actually a leading reason for malpractice lawsuits, and is a main cause of patient fatalities. Research suggests that thousands of patients all across the United States are victims of delayed, missed, or incorrect diagnosis every year. Around 1 in every 5 patients who seek a second opinion from another doctor were found to be incorrectly diagnosed by the first doctor. Perhaps even more disturbing is to realize that not every person with a diagnosis is going to get a second opinion at all.
Victims and their families often pay the price and endure the heartache for a medical misdiagnosis. If your doctor had failed to correctly diagnose you and it caused you harm, then it’s time to meet with an attorney for information about how to seek compensation.
Why Medical Misdiagnosis Happens
An incorrect medical diagnosis can be categorized as medical malpractice if the doctor had deviated from the standard of medical care expected in the medical community. In other words, if another doctor with similar training would not have committed the same mistake, then there is a chance medical malpractice occurred. Wrongful diagnosis often occur due to medical providers who:
- Misinterpret test results (such as blood, urine, and biopsy tests)
- Fail to refer patients to a specialist when needed
- Fail to order the correct screening for certain diseases and illnesses
- Fail to spend sufficient time with a patient in order to address symptoms and arrive at an accurate conclusion
- Laboratory professionals incorrectly perform or interpret the tests, or mishandle the same which leads to flawed results
When Symptoms Are Misinterpreted
Some serious illnesses have the same kinds of symptoms as more common and non life-threatening conditions. Particularly when the illness is in its early stages, it can be challenging to diagnose. For instance, a patient who is affected by stomach bloating due to indigestion, may be confused with having potentially fatal ovarian cancer. Even doctors who are experienced and have been in the field for a very long time may misinterpret the symptoms. So to minimize the chances of an incorrect diagnosis, most doctors will order a series of tests and through the process of elimination continues until the true condition is identified.
Things To Keep In Mind
When talking with your doctor, always be entirely forthcoming about your symptoms. Even if you don’t think a symptom could relate to the situation, share it with your doctor. And while most doctors have your best of interest in mind, be prepared to also look out for yourself and speak up if you are not comfortable with your treatment plan. Trust your gut if you think you aren’t being taken seriously and get a second opinion from a different practice if needed. Your health comes first. Speak with a nursing errors lawyer in Salt Lake City, UT for a consultation if you think medical misdiagnosis or malpractice has happened to you.
Thanks to Rasmussen & Miner for their insight into medical malpractice and a wrong diagnosis.