As a patient, you rely on their doctors to diagnose and treat diseases or illnesses. Doctors devote years of their lives to this job, so you expect them to make an accurate diagnosis, it’s one of their primary functions. But unfortunately, doctors and other medical professionals can make mistakes. If there was a medical misdiagnosis, the patient can be at risk for permanent injury or death.
What is Medical Misdiagnosis?
Medical misdiagnosis is a common term that is used when a doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis of illness, condition, or injury. This often takes the form of:
- Wrong Diagnosis – the patient is diagnosed with a disease/condition that they do not have
- Delayed Diagnosis – failure to diagnose within a reasonable amount of time
- Missed Diagnosis – the healthcare provider failed to diagnose an underlying health issue
- Failure to Diagnose Other Diseases – the healthcare provider diagnosed one disease/condition but failed to diagnose other diseases (either related or unrelated to the current disease)
These events frequently lead to the wrong treatment, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all. Misdiagnosis is often a serious medical error that is considered medical malpractice. Misdiagnosis alone is not sufficient to bring a lawsuit: like any medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s also necessary to prove negligence.
How Does Misdiagnosis Occur?
Failure to diagnose a patient can lead to the patient’s condition worsening, wasted time and money, unnecessary therapies or medicines, and devastating consequences. According to Healthline, 12 million people in the United States are affected by medical diagnostics each year and an estimated 40,000 to 80,000 people die from this annually from complications. Now, this leads to the question, how does it happen? Well, failure to diagnose cases often occurs due to:
- Failure to properly consult and evaluate patients about their symptoms (miscommunication)
- Failure to screen for an indicated medical condition
- Failing to order a diagnostic test
- Misinterpretation of lab test results
- Failing to refer patients to a specialist
- Mistaking medication side effects for illness
- Accurately diagnosing the condition but not the underlying cause
- Failure to follow up and investigate potential causes of symptoms that are reported
Have You Been Injured Because of a Medical Misdiagnosis?
If patients suffer due to a medical misdiagnosis, they have the right to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to seek compensation for their medical bills and pain and suffering. If you were misdiagnosed, consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. At Foley & Small, as experienced attorneys, we’ll use our expertise and resources to fully investigate each case and fight for our clients to get the justice they deserve.