What Should You Do if You Think You’ve Been Misdiagnosed?
Posted on October 23, 2023 in Medical Malpractice
When a medical condition is not diagnosed properly, it can lead to missed treatment opportunities and delays in relief from medical issues. By delaying treatment or not treating the correct condition altogether, a misdiagnosis can lead to a worsening of symptoms, and the root cause of the problem, left untreated, can become critical. If you believe someone in your family has experienced a misdiagnosis, it may have been due to medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice cases that are caused by a misdiagnosis are something you should discuss with a medical malpractice lawyer in Portland at Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC. You or your loved one may be entitled to compensation. Our medical malpractice attorneys will use their vast experience and honed skills to advise you on what your next steps should be.
Recognizing a Misdiagnosis
A misdiagnosis typically becomes evident when the patient fails to respond to the prescribed medical treatment or when the patient or their family has doubts about the diagnosis and seeks a second opinion. Many times, the patient recovers even when a condition is not appropriately diagnosed, so the misdiagnosis never comes to light.
Sometimes, a medical misdiagnosis is the result of errors made by the medical team. Among those errors are the ones listed below:
- The diagnosis is incorrect because the doctor diagnoses the patient with the wrong ailment.
- Complications sometimes go unrecognized. This is when the doctor does diagnose the condition correctly but overlooks possible complications. This could mean drug interactions or other conditions that would be negatively impacted by the course of treatment chosen.
- Missed diagnosis happens when the doctor or medical team altogether misdiagnoses a condition.
- Delays in diagnosis occur when the healthcare professional does not provide a diagnosis in a timely manner. This can cause fatalities and disabilities and can cause treatments to become more extensive and expensive.
- When a related disease is not diagnosed, the protocol for treating the patient can be incorrect and can cause the condition to progress.
- Unrelated conditions, when there is a failure to diagnose, can also cause the patient to suffer.
The Results of a Medical Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnoses of medical conditions can lead to more suffering for the patient and, worse, can lead to disabilities or even death. A medical malpractice attorney can advise you about the specifics of your case, but there are typically two factors that will be analyzed.
The first aspect is whether the diagnosis was due to negligence. Doctors are not infallible. They make mistakes. Even the best doctors mess up sometimes. To determine whether the doctor in charge of your care was negligent, the methods they used to determine a diagnosis are crucial to assess.
- Were the tests the doctor administered the right ones?
- Would other doctors have typically looked at other things?
- Would another doctor have also come to the wrong conclusion?
The second part that must be analyzed is whether a misdiagnosis harmed the patient. Some diagnoses are not correct, but the condition may clear up on its own, and no harm is done. But, if the patient is treated incorrectly, it could cause injury. If a tangible injury is caused by a misdiagnosis, it can mean that medical malpractice occurred.
The Damage May Not Be the Fault of Your Chosen Healthcare Professional
There are times when the doctor is not at fault for a misdiagnosis. For instance, if the mistake in diagnosis was caused by a lab error or mix-up, the medical professional in charge of your case might not be the problem.
You may have a medical malpractice case, but you will need to show that it was the lab’s fault. Sometimes, this can be because of clerical errors, such as switched lab results. It could also be because the equipment used in the lab is faulty or poorly calibrated. These are reasons to explore a medical malpractice suit with your medical malpractice attorney.
Next Steps Following a Medical Misdiagnosis
Initially, it is important to confirm that you were actually misdiagnosed. To do this, obtain copies of your medical records and seek the opinion of other medical professionals. The doctor who looks over your records and analyzes your condition will outline the damages you suffered due to the original misdiagnosis.
Once you have confirmation of the medical misdiagnosis you experienced, you can present it to your medical malpractice lawyer. They will want written evidence of the tests administered, the recorded diagnosis, and the harm done because of the misdiagnosis. This will help them outline the mistakes and determine if they were a result of the medical team’s negligence.
After uncovering a misdiagnosis, speak to a misdiagnosis error attorney in Portland promptly. There are statutes of limitations in place should you pursue a case against the medical professional who caused your injuries.
The Burden of Proof
You are responsible for demonstrating that you sustained harm due to the medical misdiagnosis. The damage you must prove can come in various ways and are described below:
- Medical: Medical harm occurs when a misdiagnosis causes the patient’s condition to escalate or even causes their death.
- Psychological: An incorrect diagnosis can cause mental anguish, anxiety, fear, and emotional distress. For instance, if a patient is wrongly diagnosed with a fatal condition, this could take a strong emotional toll on the patient.
- Financial: The expense related to treating any medical condition can be steep. Things can be particularly expensive if the situation requires more extensive treatment due to it becoming more serious after being missed originally.
The harm experienced due to a misdiagnosis could be any of the three types listed below or any combination of the three. If you lost income because you missed work unnecessarily or suffered mentally because of the situation, your attorney may feel it is appropriate to pursue damages.
Doctors’ mistakes are not always due to negligence or carelessness. There are times when the situation is confusing and difficult to diagnose, and any doctor would struggle to reach the correct diagnosis. It is your attorney’s job to determine whether you have a case.
Seek Legal Counsel if You or a Loved One Has Been Misdiagnosed
The Paulson Coletti Trial Lawyers PC team is ready to help if a misdiagnosis has harmed you or a loved one. Having a lawyer with experience in the field of medical malpractice will provide you with the skills necessary to pursue a successful outcome. Reach out today for a free consultation. Our goal is to help you.