If a medical patient’s condition is diagnosed promptly and correctly, that person’s chances of making a complete recovery are usually quite high. However, when the patient’s illness is misdiagnosed, the likelihood of this individual’s recovering or even surviving is significantly less.
A number of different events can result in a misdiagnosis. For example, a physician may not interpret a patient’s symptoms correctly and determine that he or she has no serious medical condition or is suffering from another illness altogether. At times, doctors also misread the results from X-rays, sonograms, mammograms and other tests, and they sometimes fail to take patients’ comments about their condition seriously.
Even one incident of misdiagnosis can have a significant impact on both the patient and the patient’s family. In addition, when a correct diagnosis is finally made, the financial cost along with the treatment that is required at that time often proves to be significantly higher because of the delay. Beyond that, families who lose a loved one due to misdiagnosis often wonder if he or she would still be alive if the appropriate action had been taken at the right time.
This assumption is more than mere speculation, because a 2009 CBS news article reveals the following: autopsies are performed in approximately 6 percent of all hospital deaths. However, in that number about 40 percent of those who died have been misdiagnoses by their physicians, and from 10 to 12 percent of those cases involved either a diagnosis that should have been made correctly originally or a “major misdiagnosis.”
Not surprisingly misdiagnosis cases are often quite complicated, but experienced personal injury attorneys are prepared to handle them, along with other medical malpractice cases, and ensure that their clients will be duly compensated for the injuries they have suffered. They can provide quality legal representation because of their relevant trial experience and the relationships they have established with highly qualified medical experts. Above all, they know how difficult it is for their clients to cope with certain medical conditions, and they pay close attention to their specific needs, preferences and concerns.
Some illnesses are misdiagnosed more frequently than others, and they include the following:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Medication is sometimes prescribed unnecessarily and other behavioral problems tend to be ignored
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).. Similar illnesses include Crohn’s disease and celiac disease
- Alzheimer’s disease. In regard to the elderly, the patient may have some alternative type of dementia
Unfortunate side effects of medical misdiagnosis
If a patient’s condition is misdiagnosed, that could result in their being given the wrong treatment or cause a delay in their receiving the treatment they actually need. For example, if a patient undergoes chemotherapy treatments for cancer and later discovers that they have a benign tumor, they would still needlessly suffer the harmful effects of fatigue, nausea and hair loss. Along with that, this person’s immune system would also be impaired, making them susceptible to a variety of diseases that could prove to be fatal.
What you can expect
With many cases involving misdiagnosis, the doctor’s insurer will “encourage” the patient to agree to a settlement offer without delay. If you feel that you have been harmed in some way by being misdiagnosed, it is best not to take that step until you can determine how badly you have been injured and what your total expenses will be until you are well again.
What you can do
Consulting an experienced misdiagnosis attorney can prove to be beneficial if you feel that you are entitled to compensation. This professional will outline your legal rights and duties and conduct a detailed investigation of your case as well. Our goal will be to receive a compensation amount that is in line with the negative effect the misdiagnosis has had on both you and your family.
After reviewing the issues related to your case, an experienced medical malpractice attorney can determine whether anyone is legally responsible for the injuries you have suffered. If you are told that your claim is worth pursuing, your lawyer will begin to compile evidence, consult with medical experts and interview witnesses to build a valid medical malpractice claim for you.
If you succeed in winning your case, you may be awarded damages to cover your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and additional expenses related to your misdiagnosis. Note also that you can file you claim against your physician, hospital or clinic, based on the specifics of your case.