Medical Malpractice Due to Misdiagnosis

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Medical Malpractice Due to Misdiagnosis

 Many medical malpractice lawsuits result from the wrong diagnosis of a serious condition or a delayed diagnosis. This can be an extremely serious doctor mistake.

When a doctor's diagnosis error leads to incorrect treatment for an illness or a condition, delayed treatment, or no treatment, the patient's condition can be made worse. It may be too late to save their life once a proper diagnosis is made.

At the Smith Law Center, our experienced injury lawyers help patients in a wide range of medical malpractice lawsuits. Medical malpractice due to misdiagnosis is sadly all too common.

When Medical Misdiagnosis or Delay can Lead to a Lawsuit

Not all instances of an incorrect diagnosis will be grounds for legal action. The mere fact a doctor made the wrong diagnosis or took too long to make it does not mean he or she was negligent. If the error did not result in harm to the patient, there will be no grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.

 Doctors can and do make diagnostic errors even when exercising reasonable care. The attorney in these cases must look at whether the doctor or surgeon acted competently.

A key question is whether the doctor breached the relevant medical standard of care in the circumstances. In these cases, we should ask would a doctor with similar training and background have made the same diagnosis?

These cases can be challenging.  The patient must prove that the misdiagnosis caused the injury or illness to become more serious than if a correct diagnosis was made.  

Common Forms of Serious Medical Misdiagnosis

 Cancer – A delayed diagnosis of cancer or mistaking the condition for something more benign can be a death sentence for a patient. Alternatively, patients may receive an incorrect cancer diagnosis, which means they unnecessarily suffer harrowing treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.

Asthma – this condition may be diagnosed as recurring bronchitis with potentially fatal consequences.

Heart Attack – mistaking a heart attack for a panic attack, indigestion or a muscular issue can also be deadly for a patient.

Celiac Disease – Many people who have this condition are given an incorrect diagnosis.

Stroke – American Heart Association research found younger people who suffer stroke symptoms are frequently misdiagnosed with migraines, vertigo, or believed to be intoxicated from alcohol. 

Lymph node inflammation – this condition is often misdiagnosed as flu.

Fractures – a doctor fails to diagnose a fracture and tells you, you have a sprain.

Who Can Be Sued for Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis?

In most medical misdiagnosis cases, the doctor who made the diagnosis is the only person who can be sued.

Patients may not be able to sue the hospital or another medical provider where they were treated. Not all doctors are employees of a hospital. Many doctors are independent contractors. A lawsuit is brought against the doctor’s personal insurance policy.

In rare cases, other medical professionals can be sued. However, nurses, lab technicians, nurses, consultants, and specialists can only be sued if they played a role in the negligent misdiagnosis.

Some Key Questions to Ask in Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis Cases

You may be angry about a misdiagnosis, but you will not have grounds for legal action if it did not cause you any harm. Here are some important questions to ask.

1.    Is the injury going to impact your chances of getting better?

2.    If a doctor had diagnosed a condition earlier, would your outcome have been more positive?

3.    Did you lose an opportunity to fix the problem earlier?

4.    Is a misdiagnosis likely to shorten your life-span?

 What Are the Potential Consequences of Misdiagnosis at a Virginia Hospital?

If a doctor gives you an incorrect diagnosis or delays a diagnosis, the impact on your life may be serious. It’s always heartbreaking when Virginia medical malpractice lawyers are contacted by the family of a cancer patient who lost a chance to fight the disease because of a delayed or wrong diagnosis.

The failure of a doctor to diagnose is unacceptable when it impacts the lives of patients. A mistake of this nature can lead to.

1.    Higher medical bills;

2.    Pain and suffering;

3.    Mental turmoil;

4.    Invasive treatment;

5.    Wrongful death.

 Contact a Virginia Injury Lawyer over a Medical Malpractice Due to Misdiagnosis

If a medical misdiagnosis has impacted your health or future, it’s important to contact a Virginia injury lawyer as soon as possible. The doctor who made the mistake should be held to account. At the Smith Law Center, we have been helping people harmed at hospitals for decades. See our injury results or contact us today at 757.244.7000