The rate of medical misdiagnosis is higher than drug errors or wrong-site surgeries, both of which receive much more attention in the news and media. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, wrong, missed or delayed medical diagnoses affect up to 20 percent of all medical cases and can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Primary care doctors are pushed for time.
- Primary care doctors may not get a thoroughly, detailed picture of patients’ symptoms.
- Physicians can focus too much on one disease without considering alternatives, especially ones they rarely see or have no experience with.
- Pathologists and radiologists can misread slides or scans.
- Physicians fail to order correct screening for illnesses and diseases.
- Physicians misinterpret lab and test results.
- Physicians fail to refer patients to specialists.
- Physicians fail to follow up with patients, their test results, and with the referred specialists.
People often wonder if they can sue a doctor because the physician misdiagnosed their illness. They can, but only if the doctor’s misdiagnosis resulted in serious injury. Otherwise, the chances of winning a medical malpractice case are small. And some illnesses, with broad symptoms (such as tiredness, depression, headaches) can be difficult to pinpoint the exact diagnose. Even the best doctors can review a patient’s symptoms and come up with a different diagnosis.
So What to Do?
When it comes to lawsuits due to misdiagnosis, plaintiffs must show that the doctor failed to demonstrate the level of skill that a similarly-trained and experienced doctor would have shown under the same set of circumstances. This is called sub-standard level of care. Plaintiffs must show that this sub-standard level of care resulted in harm to the patient.
It’s not enough to show that the doctor failed to make the right diagnosis. You may have a medical malpractice case, if you or someone you love have been harmed in any of the following ways due to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis by your physician:
- Exposed to more aggressive treatment than would have been required if the disease or medical condition had been diagnosed earlier.
- Needless exposure to harmful courses of treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy.
- Unnecessary surgical procedures, especially if scarring or disfigurement resulted.
- Increased likelihood of complications or death.
Note the Statute of Limitations in a Misdiagnosis Case
All civil claims, including medical malpractice cases due to a medical misdiagnosis have time limits, called “statutes of limitations.” If you don’t file your claim within that time period from when the injury occurred, you risk waiving your rights to recover money for your injuries. The lawyers at Wolf & Pravato can help you file your claim within the correct time frame so this doesn’t happen.
If you’ve been harmed because a medical professional failed to correctly diagnose your illness, talk to one of our attorneys to see if you have a good case. You should never face financial loss because of the carelessness of someone you trusted to help you. If you are the victim of South Florida medical malpractice, the lawyers at Wolf & Pravato can help you to fight for the justice that the law affords you.
To learn more, call us today at 1-954-633-8270