Medical misdiagnosis is a type of medical malpractice injury. Medical malpractice is a type of professional malpractice in which a medical professional (a nurse, doctor) falls below the standard of care for their profession. Just because a mistake happened or a patient was not fully satisfied with the diagnosis and treatment does not necessarily give rise to a claim. There is a legal standard that must be met, namely that a medical professional was not qualified for the task performed and that lack of competence was what caused the patient’s injuries. To establish a claim for misdiagnosis, an injured party must show:
- A physician-patient relationship existed;
- The physician was negligent in a relevant aspect of the medical diagnosis; and,
- The patient’s injuries were proximately caused by the physician’s negligence.
A failure to diagnose or delaying a diagnosis are common complaints in claimants. It can also involve a failure to identify accompanying diseases, related diseases, or a different disease. This is because a patient may have missed opportunities to treat a particular malady by less intensive or invasive means. Proper and timely diagnosis may even have prevented death of the injured.
The main issue is whether the doctor acted competently as even the most skillful doctors make mistakes. This can hinge on the method the doctor used in evaluating the patient and how the doctor arrived at their diagnosis and how accepted this method is in the profession. They will typically make an initial evaluation of the patient and then, based on the symptoms, medical history, and observations will begin testing the likely possibilities. During his process, the doctor will continue to add new information as each test will succeed or fail in the diagnosis.
In considering a misdiagnosis situation, an injured party must prove that a doctor in a similar specialty when faced with similar circumstances would have arrived at a different diagnosis. This means proving that the doctor did not include the correct diagnosis in the initial list of possibilities, or that the doctor included the correct diagnosis in the possibilities but arrived at a different diagnosis when reasonably competent doctors in a similar specialty would have arrived at the correct one. Errors in diagnosis may involve faulty equipment or the negligence of another medical professional. In these instances, these other professionals may be liable.
If you suspect a medical misdiagnosis, it is important to see an attorney as soon as possible. In most states, a statute of limitation limits the time in which to bring a suit. Medical malpractice suits are very complicated and lengthy, and can occur over the course of years and an attorney can navigate through the process and gather the necessary information to establish a case.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Your case may be different. In considering the statute of limitation this firm is not giving an opinion on when the statute of limitation expires. The statute of limitation requires a claimant to file a lawsuit by a certain date. Failure to file a lawsuit before the expiration of the statute of limitation bars a claimant from filing a claim and from being compensated. Hiring an attorney immediately will protect your rights.
Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance. If you suspect medical misdiagnosis, please call one of our attorneys at David K. Kremin & Associates, and we will give you a free consultation. We never charge unless we collect for you. Please call 1(800) ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529.