When you visit your doctor, you expect that they will use their knowledge and training to examine and diagnose your symptoms appropriately. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Failure to diagnose an illness, injury, or medical condition accounts for a large number of medical malpractice claims each year.
Nearly 40% of medical malpractice claims are related to incorrect or delayed diagnoses. When a doctor fails to recognize an illness or injury and treats their patient improperly, the patient can experience lifelong disabilities or injuries, or even death. Doctors are required to provide patients with the standard of care mandated by their profession, and they can be held accountable if they depart from those standards.
If you or a loved one have experienced a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, it is crucial that you contact an experienced misdiagnosis lawyer to learn more about your rights. You may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact an experienced misdiagnosis lawyer right away.
Misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor examines their patient but fails to reach the correct conclusion about their underlying medical condition even if the patient shows symptoms. A misdiagnosis can include a doctor’s failure to diagnose a sick patient with anything; the doctor assures the patient that they are healthy when in reality, they are suffering from a medical condition- increasing the likelihood of complications, needless suffering, and mortality.
Misdiagnosis also involves situations in which a doctor diagnoses a patient with the wrong illness or fails to recognize issues of an existing diagnosis.
Delayed diagnoses, on the other hand, occur when a doctor ultimately makes the correct diagnosis, but not within an appropriate time frame. For example, if a doctor reviews a patient’s mammogram, and concludes that the patient is cancer-free when the mammogram shows otherwise, then he or she catches the mistake at the patient’s next visit.
Depending on the length of the delay, the patient could be diagnosed with a higher stage of breast cancer than if the doctor caught it at the appropriate time, and their treatment could be more invasive and less effective. This delay by the doctor could cause cancer to spread to other areas of the body, forcing the patient to undergo more painful and rigorous treatment options.
Common Conditions Doctors Fail to Diagnose Properly
There are many scenarios in which a doctor can fail to diagnose a disease or injury accurately. Some common examples include:
● Heart Attacks- can be mistaken for a variety of other injuries or illnesses if the doctor does not follow the standard of care. Sometimes doctors mistake a heart attack for a panic attack, indigestion, or other less threatening conditions.
● Cancer– the failure to diagnose cancer can lead to months and even years of painful radiation and chemotherapy, and an increased likelihood of death.
● Asthma– is sometimes misdiagnosed as bronchitis.
● Strokes– Doctors may write off a stroke as a headache or other minor illness, and neglect to perform a proper physical and neurological exam to diagnose the condition.
● Meningitis– A delay in diagnosing meningitis can lead to lifelong disabilities, and in some cases, death. Failure to promptly diagnose and treat a patient for meningitis is a textbook example of emergency room negligence.
A large portion of claims related to incorrect diagnoses occurs in emergency rooms due to its stressful nature and because of the gravity and rarity of the injuries and illnesses that patients often possess. Despite this, doctors can be liable if they breach the standard of care and fail to competently evaluate their patients.
Was My Doctor Negligent?
To prove a medical malpractice claim, you cannot simply argue that your doctor made the wrong diagnosis. Doctors can incorrectly diagnose, even when following standard practices.
You must prove that the doctor deviated from the proper care standard and that their incompetence caused harm or an increased likelihood of complications or death. Some common scenarios that would justify malpractice include situations in which doctors:
• Fail to refer a patient to a specialist when needed after performing a complete examination.
• Incorrectly diagnose their patient with a less-serious medical condition.
• Fail to conduct necessary laboratory tests after completing a physical exam.
Physicians often evaluate their patients using a differential diagnosis system to narrow down the possible medical conditions based on the symptoms presented. After narrowing down possible conditions, doctors will next order laboratory tests to corroborate their observations and rule out some illnesses or injuries included in their differential diagnosis.
In many cases, medical experts will be able to evaluate a doctor’s differential diagnosis to determine whether or not the doctor was negligent in assessing their patient.
In some cases, faulty equipment or contamination may be the cause of your misdiagnosis. Although the doctor may not be entirely liable for the errors, other parties such as lab technicians, pathologists, or other specialists may be responsible based on their involvement.
To Pursue a Viable Claim, The Following Must Be True:
● The doctor-patient relationship- is the easiest of the three to establish; the relationship develops when your doctor performs any examination corroborated by medical records.
● Failure to follow the standard of care- You must verify that the doctor deviated from the proper care standard. The standard of care is the standard protocol that doctors typically follow in assessing or caring for a patient. Failure to follow the standard protocol can be deemed negligence.
● Negligence is the primary factor- In addition to proving negligence, you must also prove that your suffering was due to that negligence.
What Type of Compensation is Available?
Doctors and hospitals must hold malpractice insurance to allow for compensation in the event of a viable claim. Our attorneys at Halperin & Halperin P.C. can help you seek compensation for your losses. Type of compensation may include:
● Past and future pain and suffering
● Past and future medical expenses and rehabilitation costs
● Past and future lost income
● Loss of the injured party’s services claimed by their husband or wife
● Loss of parental guidance claimed by the injured party’s children
Statute of Limitations:
Don’t wait to contact a misdiagnosis lawyer, as there is a time limit to make your claim. The statute of limitations for most medical malpractice lawsuits only extends two and a half years from the date in which the alleged malpractice occurred. This time limit may be extended for cases involving a missed cancer diagnosis under Lavern’s Law.
The trial lawyers at Halperin & Halperin P.C. have handled hundreds of cases involving missed or delayed diagnoses. Although we may not be able to make you whole again, we will help you get the justice you deserve. Our misdiagnosis lawyer will give your case the attention and dedication it deserves, consulting with expert medical doctors. Our experts will determine the proper standard of care and whether your doctor was negligent. We have proven results in securing significant settlements and trial verdicts for our clients.
Contact us for a free consultation by an experienced New York misdiagnosis lawyer. We operate on a contingency basis, meaning we will not charge you any fees unless we recover monetary damages and get you the justice you deserve.