When you go to the doctor because you are not feeling well, you trust that your doctor will figure out what is wrong and get you on the path to recovery. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned, and doctors misdiagnose patients. While this might not seem like a big deal, a misdiagnosis can have serious consequences.
Medical errors in general are the third leading cause of death in the United States. To put this in perspective, medical errors kill more people than car accidents and breast cancer. Many of these deaths are attributed to misdiagnosis.
Why is Medical Misdiagnosis So Common?
So why is misdiagnosis so common? There are a number of reasons. First, doctors are only human and they can’t know everything about every disease. Additionally, many diseases have similar symptoms which can make it difficult to identify the correct illness.
Another contributing factor is that doctors are often working under time constraints and may not have the opportunity to thoroughly review a patient’s medical history or perform all the necessary tests before making a diagnosis. Additionally, many doctors rely heavily on diagnostic guidelines and checklists which, while helpful, can sometimes lead to them overlooking important individualized details about a patient’s particular case.
While most misdiagnoses are minor and will not have long-term consequences, some can be serious or even life-threatening.
What to do After a Medical Misdiagnosis
A medical misdiagnosis can be a devastating experience. You put your trust in your doctor, and you expect them to give you an accurate diagnosis so that you can get the treatment you need. When that doesn’t happen, it can be difficult to know what to do next.
If you’ve been the victim of a medical misdiagnosis, the first thing you should do is seek legal counsel. A medical malpractice lawyer will be able to review your case and help you determine if you have a valid claim. They can also help you navigate the complex legal process and ensure that your rights are protected every step of the way.
If you’ve been harmed by a misdiagnosis, you may be able to file a medical malpractice claim against the responsible parties—including the doctor who made the mistake, the hospital where it occurred, or both.
Your lawyer will work with you to gather evidence and build a strong case. This may include obtaining your medical records, speaking to witnesses, and consulting with experts.
With an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on your side, you can rest assured that your case is in good hands and that you have a strong chance of getting the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Types of Compensation You May Be Entitled To
Misdiagnoses can have serious consequences for patients. Not only does it mean that they may not receive the treatment they need for their actual condition, but it can also lead to them undergoing unnecessary and potentially harmful treatments for the condition they’ve been incorrectly diagnosed with. In some cases, misdiagnoses can even be deadly.
If you’ve been the victim of a misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The type and amount of compensation you may be awarded will depend on the particular facts of your case, but it could include the following:
Compensation for Physical Injuries
If the misdiagnosis led to physical injuries, you may be able to recover compensatory damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To succeed in this type of claim, you will need to show that the misdiagnosis was directly responsible for your physical injuries.
Other Financial Losses
A misdiagnosis can also entitle you to recover damages for financial losses. For example, if your misdiagnosis caused you to take time off work, you would likely be able to recover lost wages. You may also be able to recover other out-of-pocket expenses related to the misdiagnosis, such as transportation costs for medical appointments or the cost of childcare while you’re receiving treatment.
Lastly, you may be able to recover damages for emotional distress if the misdiagnosis led to severe anxiety, depression, or other emotional damages.