A large cause of medical malpractice lawsuits is medical misdiagnosis. Being misdiagnosed by a doctor can lead to unnecessary or delayed treatments, unneeded expenses, pain and suffering, and in extreme cases even death. As many as 12 million people a year in the USA may be misdiagnosed.
What is medical misdiagnosis?
A medical misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to diagnose the patient or incorrectly diagnoses the patient. Depending on the severity of your condition, this can lead to a lot of issues if you are getting unnecessary treatments or delaying getting the treatments that could help you.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions
- Heart attack
- Staph infection
- Celiac disease
Emergency rooms are the most likely place for a misdiagnosis to happen. Due to the increased time pressure on doctors and nurses, they may not be able to investigate different diagnoses.
Can I sue for medical misdiagnosis?
Being misdiagnosed does not necessarily mean you have the right to sue for medical malpractice. There are typically three things that have to be proven in court for a successful misdiagnosis case.
- There was an established doctor-patient relationship.
- The doctor was negligent.
- The doctor’s negligence caused harm to the patient.
With all medical malpractice cases, the standard of care is looked at. When a doctor makes a mistake during a diagnosis or surgery, it does not necessarily mean that they acted negligently. Standard of care refers to the generally accepted set of treatment guidelines that other similarly qualified physicians would perform under similar circumstances.
Unfortunately doctors can make mistakes, so your attorney will look to see if other physicians in similar circumstances would have come to the same conclusion. If not, you may have a medical malpractice claim.
How to Avoid a Misdiagnosis
While your doctor should be giving you the best care possible, you are also responsible for making sure you are getting proper care. One of the most important things you can do is be honest and upfront about your symptoms. Right them down if you need to make sure you’re giving the doctor the most accurate picture of what is going on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask your doctor to explain something more thoroughly. If you’re really unsure about a diagnosis, it might be worth getting a second or even third opinion.
What should you do next?
If you believe you were misdiagnosed and it caused harm, you can contact a medical malpractice law firm in Chicago like ESR Law Group. We will review your case and let you know what we think. Contact our office today.