New York Medical Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
One of the most common types of medical malpractice in the United States is that of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Over 12 million patients are misdiagnosed each year by the medical community regarding a health-related issue. Understanding how being misdiagnosed or diagnosed too late with a medical condition can be considered medical malpractice, can help you determine if you may have a strong case to receive compensation for your injuries.
Medical Malpractice: Misdiagnosis
Medical malpractice is when a patient is harmed or suffers injuries due to the negligence of a doctor, nurse, hospital, specialist or any other medical practitioner. There are many different types of medical malpractice, but the most common types are the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition. In order for misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis to rise to the level of medical malpractice, a medical practitioner must have acted or behaved in such a way that it would be considered below the established standard of care accepted by the medical community. In the case of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis, this means that under the same or similar circumstances, a doctor, nurse, or specialist should have diagnosed the medical condition correctly and in a timely manner.
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
One of the most common areas of medical malpractice is the misdiagnosis of patients or the delayed diagnosis of patients. When surveyed, over 55% of all patients indicated that their biggest fear and concern is a diagnostic error when seeing a doctor in an outpatient setting. It turns out that these patients have a right to be concerned. According to research, doctors are wrong 10-15% of the time when they make a diagnosis regarding a medical condition. Some physician surveys even indicate that over half of respondents in the survey encounter diagnostic errors on a monthly basis in their practice.
If a patient is diagnosed incorrectly, or their correct diagnosis is delayed, this can lead to a domino-effect of additional injuries that can include the prescription of incorrect medications, incorrect or absent medical testing, or even harmful treatments. Additionally, while these treatments are not helping the original medical condition, it is also being left completely untreated.
For example, if someone is diagnosed with a horrific condition known as trigeminal neuralgia (also known as the “suicide disease” because it causes a patient so much pain that oftentimes they kill themselves) they are likely given different neurological tests, MRI scans, CT scans, and perhaps even opioids for the pain. However, if the actual condition was not trigeminal neuralgia, but rather an abscessed tooth, two very serious issues are happening to this patient. First, they are being required to go through testing that is expensive, time-consuming, damaging and unnecessary. Next, they are being given medications that are also expensive and potentially damaging. In the meantime, their actual condition, which is an abscessed tooth, is only getting worse, not being treated or resolved, and could cause more injury or even death.
In all of these cases of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, the errors will likely cause substantial damage to a patient. Additionally, their true medical condition is not being treated, causing more suffering and injury.
Proving a Medical Malpractice Case Based on Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
In order to build a strong medical malpractice case based on misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, a patient must prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the doctor or medical professional was negligent in his/her actions, and the negligence caused an actual injury to the patient.
In a successful medical malpractice claim, the victim will be able to prove that the doctor did not act in a similar way to a doctor of the same specialty, under the same or similar circumstances. In these cases, the case must prove that the doctor did not include the correct diagnosis on his differential diagnosis list (listing of all possible conditions that relate to the patient’s symptoms), and a reasonably prudent, skillful and competent doctor would have included that diagnosis on their differential diagnosis list. Alternatively, a case could prove that while the doctor did have the correct condition on their differential diagnosis list, they did not follow through with correct testing or other appropriate methods to determine if that condition was the cause of the patient’s symptoms.
Medical malpractice cases based on misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can be complex and challenging to prove and often need medical expert witness testimony
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
Some good news for patients is that second opinions typically catch misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis errors. Studies show that a misdiagnosis, abnormality in the diagnosis, or delayed diagnosis was caught by a second doctor, reducing the amount of misdiagnosis down to 2-5%. Therefore, if you feel that your doctor is not diagnosing you correctly, or in a timely manner, always seek the advice of another medical professional or specialist.
If you have been injured due to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you may have the right to receive compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. Contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at the law firm. We can help you receive the compensation you deserve if you were injured due to the negligence of a medical professional.