Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis often contribute to the worsening of a patient’s condition. When doctors make a mistake in diagnosis, it is even possible for a patient who could have received the treatment that they needed to die. While misdiagnosis can be considered medical malpractice, there are other factors that come into play when determining whether a patient is able to file a lawsuit.
Types of Errors in Diagnosis
There is more than one way that a doctor can make a mistake when diagnosing a patient. Doctors could miss the diagnosis entirely and tell the patient that they are healthy, or the patient may be told that they have a condition that they do not actually have.
It is also possible for doctors to correctly diagnosis a patient but fail to recognize the severity of the condition or complications related to the condition. Doctors may diagnosis a patient with a disease that they have while failing to diagnosis other conditions that are present.
Medical malpractice must involve negligence on the part of a medical professional that can be proven to result in injury to the patient. While misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can cause a patient’s medical condition to worsen, it is possible for doctors to fail to diagnosis a condition without being negligent.
In order to establish that negligence occurred in relation to a misdiagnosis, the patient has to prove that other doctors in the same position as their medical provider would have discovered the correct diagnosis.
When Diagnostic Tests Are Wrong
Doctors may have made the wrong diagnosis because of results of laboratory tests that were inaccurate. Since the doctor most likely did not act negligently in relying on the accuracy of these tests, he will probably not be held liable for the mistake. However, technicians may be held liable if they misinterpreted the results or used equipment that they knew was faulty.
Proving That Harm Was Done
A misdiagnosis does not always cause harm to a patient, and any patient that is misdiagnosed and suffers no negative consequences will not be able to file a lawsuit against their medical provider. It is essential that patients prove both that they were harmed and that the harm can be directly connected to the negligence of a doctor.
Sometimes a misdiagnosis results in treatments that are unnecessary. While monetary compensation for the cost of treatment can be recovered in this case, it is also possible for patients to recover compensation for any mental anguish suffered because they believed that they had the condition.
Emergency Room Mistakes
Misdiagnoses in the emergency room tend to happen frequently because emergency medical situations require medical professionals to quickly diagnosis a condition in order to begin treatment before more damage is done.
As with non-emergency situations, a patient harmed by an emergency room misdiagnosis must be able to prove that their doctor acted negligently while making the diagnosis.
When a doctor negligently makes a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis that causes harm to a patient, the patient needs to contact a legal professional as soon as possible. Compensation for any unnecessary treatments that were performed, additional treatments that are required because of the misdiagnosis and possibly even emotional suffering can be recovered in many cases. A free consultation with a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice is the first step in getting the compensation that is needed after an error in diagnosis.