If your doctor misdiagnosed your medical condition for five years, you might have a right to collect damages for the harm you suffered.
What to Expect in the Lawsuit
Physicians pay for medical malpractice insurance to protect themselves when they get sued. These professional liability insurers have teams of lawyers who defend the doctors aggressively.
During the lawsuit, you will have to sign medical records and release forms, answer written questions, and produce requested relevant documents. The defense lawyers might take your deposition, which means that they will ask you questions in person, under oath, with a court reporter recording everything you say. The case might go to trial.
You do not have to face this barrage of aggressive defense on your own. We are there every step of the way for our clients. We will guide you through the process, collect documents and other evidence, build your case, and stand between you and the insurance company’s lawyers. We will fight hard to get all the compensation you deserve.
The Misdiagnosis Problem
The magnitude of the misdiagnosis problem in America is surprisingly large. Getting the wrong diagnosis can cause severe harm in half of those cases. Medical misdiagnosis happens in the hospital, outpatient clinics, and doctors’ offices. When a person has a medical condition that was misdiagnosed for a long time, like five years, the harm can take a serious toll, even fatal.
What Causes Misdiagnosis
Medical authorities say that the most common reasons doctors make diagnostic mistakes include:
- The doctor made errors interpreting the diagnostic test results
- The patient’s medical history information was incomplete or inaccurate
- There were problems with ordering the diagnostic tests
- Doctors are too rushed to perform thorough examinations, listen to their patients, and talk with them about their health concerns
- Doctors’ offices fail to contact patients about adverse test results
Was the Misdiagnosis Medical Malpractice?
The law does not require physicians to be perfect all the time. You cannot sue for every mistake a doctor makes. You can, however, sue for errors that amounted to medical negligence and caused you to suffer measurable harm.
Medical negligence is when a doctor fails to perform at the level of that another doctor with a similar education. In other words, if a similar doctor would not have made the mistake, it is medical negligence.
Types of Misdiagnosis
There are two primary ways a doctor can misdiagnose your medical condition. Misdiagnosis can be when:
The Wrong Diagnosis
A doctor makes a diagnosis, but it is the wrong one. For example, a person who complains to the doctor of an ongoing upset stomach and decreased appetite might be told to reduce stress and eat less fried or spicy food. The problem might not be from stress or dietary choices.
The patient might actually have pancreatic cancer that was at a treatable stage. By the time the patient eventually went to the emergency room, months later, he had stage four cancer for which there was little hope.
Failure to Make a Diagnosis
Sometimes doctors miss indications of significant health problems even though the signs are right in front of them. Let’s say that a person had a physical examination as part of a job requirement. The doctor sent the patient for a routine panel of blood tests as part of the physical.
When the test results came back from the lab, the doctor glanced at the numbers, then put the report into the patient’s file. The doctor failed to notice abnormal levels that should have alerted the physician to follow up and find the cause of the anomalies.
For example, the patient might have abnormal blood sugar levels. The doctor should have sent the patient for a glucose tolerance test to determine if there was an endocrine or metabolic problem. Undiagnosed and untreated, the patient went into a diabetic coma and died.
What Harm the Misdiagnosis Caused
A misdiagnosis that continues for five years will be highly likely to cause significant harm to the patient. The patient might lose the opportunity for the successful treatment of the disease because the condition progressed past the point of cure during the five-years. An example of this situation is when cancer develops from a treatable stage one or two to stage four and spreads throughout the body.
Damages for a Misdiagnosis
When a patient endures a misdiagnosis for five years because of medical malpractice, the available damages can include things like:
- Increased medical expenses caused by the misdiagnosis.
- Increased pain and suffering for the additional physical discomfort and emotional distress of the misdiagnosis.
- Loss of the opportunity to treat the illness and get a better outcome.
- Lost earnings, if the misdiagnosis caused you to miss work without pay. This category can include wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of income.
- Additional expenses you incurred because of the misdiagnosis.
How a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help
We will negotiate with the insurance company, and if they refuse to pay a fair amount to settle your claim, we can file a lawsuit and take your case to a judge and jury.