Last updated on November 21st, 2023
A medical misdiagnosis is considered malpractice. Correctly diagnosing patients is a critical duty doctors face, and the consequences of misdiagnosis can be deadly.
For example, a patient might see a doctor with an odd collection of symptoms. The doctor might believe the patient has health anxiety and other mental health issues and fails to complete all the necessary tests to rule out physical conditions. In reality, the patient had a rare type of cancer, and the cancer progressed without timely treatment. Upon the proper diagnosis, the patient needed far more invasive treatment, including surgery, chemo, and radiation, than they would have needed with a proper diagnosis the first time.
If you believe you suffered preventable injuries or complications due to a medical misdiagnosis, please speak with our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys today to see if you can sue for medical misdiagnosis.
As is the case in any malpractice case, the doctor’s carelessness causes the patient preventable injury or illness. With a misdiagnosis, the doctor “guesses” what’s wrong with the patient instead of running all the proper tests and ruling possibilities out one by one.
Misdiagnosis could also come from the doctor misreading test results. Sometimes, doctors need to look beyond the surface of test results and confer with colleagues or other professionals. If they fail to complete a full analysis of results, a misdiagnosis can result.
Giving no diagnosis at all is another common form of misdiagnosis. A medical misdiagnosis makes the patient’s condition worse, delays correct medication and treatment, and may even cause wrongful death, meaning a most likely preventable death.
The bottom line is that when a doctor makes your health worse instead of better, it might involve negligent behavior. In order to prove a misdiagnosis claim in court, the doctor’s error must have made the patient’s condition worse—if the misdiagnosis was simply an inconvenience, you probably do not have a viable malpractice case.
Statistics show that about 5% of ailments are not correctly diagnosed. Millions of people are misdiagnosed in the emergency room every year, and around 250,000 of those people die due to the misdiagnosis. BIPOC communities and women are misdiagnosed at a rate 20-30% higher than other demographics.
Here are some of the most common conditions that are frequently misdiagnosed:
Often, misdiagnosis happens because doctors fail to ask the necessary questions or consider everything a patient says. What are some other common ways that true underlying medical conditions are misdiagnosed? Some include:
The circumstances of a misdiagnosis can vary, but they can all cause worsening injuries and conditions. For example, imagine if an x-ray machine wasn’t properly calibrated and, therefore, showed a broken bone was not broken. In this case, the client was told to “walk it off” without a cast on, and this caused further injury and pain. The fact that a machine malfunction caused the misdiagnosis is irrelevant. If the doctor had taken the pain complaints more seriously, perhaps additional x-rays, scans, testing, and second opinions would have been sought to correctly identify the fracture.
No matter how your misdiagnosis happened, it is always worth it to seek a legal evaluation of your rights if you suffered preventable complications or required more invasive treatment.
Doctors are required by law to provide a high-level standard of care. When physicians fail to do so, they can be liable for medical malpractice. In order to be successful in suing a doctor for medical misdiagnosis, you’ll need to be able to prove all the elements of a malpractice case. This is a complex legal principle, so you want a skilled medical malpractice lawyer handling the process.
You’ll need documentation, medical records, and any other relevant evidence. If a thorough, competent doctor with similar education/experience would have come to the right diagnosis under the circumstances, your doctor may indeed be liable for malpractice.
The goal of a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit is to recover damages for pain and suffering, extraneous medical expenses, lost income (past and future), and any other related losses. While money will never erase your preventable injuries or medical condition, it can provide financial support and justice for your family.
Your first step is to contact a medical misdiagnosis attorney. The lawyer will ask you any questions necessary to figure out whether you have a strong case or not and can advise you about any missing information or documentation you may need to obtain. Be sure to bring everything you have relating to your case with you to the legal consultation.
Your lawyer will be looking for ways to maximize your compensation, strengthen your case, and prove your doctor’s negligence. Your medical malpractice lawyer may even advise you to get second opinions and confer with additional specialists, and so on. While you take care of those tasks, your legal team will be having expert witnesses in the medical field review your case and hopefully agree to testify on your behalf.
Your case must be filed within Ohio’s set time limit (“statute of limitations”). In Ohio, you have less time than some other states allow to bring a personal injury claim—just two years from the injury date. However, there are stricter requirements under the law if your injury stems from malpractice. In Ohio, you must:
Once your lawyer has initiated the lawsuit, settlement negotiations may begin right away, or there could be a series of hearings and depositions (giving recording testimony in your lawyer or the other lawyer’s office) that ultimately lead to a trial. Most medical malpractice cases are resolved out of court, though some require going to trial.
Your attorney can advise on what you might expect from the process after they review what happened.
You must prove four elements of malpractice to successfully show your doctor is indeed liable for your medical injuries:
Proving all of these elements requires the assistance of an experienced malpractice injury attorney.
At Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz, we take medical malpractice cases very seriously. Your doctor is supposed to help you, not hurt you. Allow us to advocate for you. Don’t be intimidated by the medical industry and insurance companies. You have important rights as an injured patient. Contact our Ohio malpractice attorneys through our contact form.
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