Misdiagnosis: When is it Medical Malpractice?

Medical Malpractice

If a doctor or other healthcare professional does not make a diagnosis of a medical condition in a timely and accurate manner, it may be possible for the patient to pursue legal action by bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit to court. However, it is important to bear in mind that errors in the medical industry or bad outcomes do not always mean that they will be legally classed as medical malpractice. The main issue in these cases is if the healthcare provider has breached an expected standard of care to the patient. Read about best Property solicitors Dublin

Common Misdiagnosis Types

There are some conditions that may be more likely to be misdiagnosed than others. These include asthma, which is commonly misdiagnosed as bronchitis, heart attacks, which may be misdiagnosed as panic attacks, indigestion or other issues, and inflammation of the lymph nodes, which is sometimes mistaken for the flu. In some cases, stroke may be overlooked as a less serious issue, particularly if the patient is younger, and cancer can also be misdiagnosed, which can lead to the patient undergoing unnecessary and painful treatments. 

When Is It Malpractice?

Typically, a medical misdiagnosis case will involve either mismanagement of tests and screenings or a delayed diagnosis. This could include a failure to report a patient to an appropriate specialist, a failure to screen for certain medical conditions, failing to investigate the potential causes for symptoms that the patient reports, or not properly consulting with the patient regarding their symptoms. If you believe that any of these may have happened to you, consider contacting a wrong diagnosis lawyer Chicago for further advice. 

Who Can You Sue?

Most of the time, the primary care physician can only be sued in a misdiagnosis case. Some other cases may involve other medical professionals being held liable if the harm to the patient has been a result of their negligence. This could include other healthcare staff such as lab techs, nurses and specialists who have worked with the patient. In the majority of cases, the hospital where the doctor works is not liable for misdiagnosis, as most doctors are contracted as independent workers rather than employees of the facility to avoid this. 

Evidence You Need

You will usually only win a medical malpractice case if you are able to show that harm to the patient resulted due to the misdiagnosis. There are several ways that you may need to provide evidence of harm, such as exposure to aggressive treatments that would not have been required for the correct diagnosis, or if the correct diagnosis had been referred earlier, and performing unnecessary surgical and medical procedures. If you have been needlessly exposed to potentially harmful treatments such as chemotherapy or have had an unnecessarily high risk of complications or death, these can also be presented in your case as evidence of malpractice. 

While misdiagnosis is not uncommon and is not always malpractice, doctors and other healthcare professionals may not be acting in the best interests of the patient if they fail to take appropriate steps to ensure that the correct diagnosis is reached. If you have been misdiagnosed and this has led to an increased risk of harm or actual harm, you may have a case. 

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