A visit to the physician, psychiatrist, or any medical professional involves an immense amount of trust and an expectation of accurate, factual information. It can be devastating to learn that a medical professional has misdiagnosed you. A misdiagnosis is not always a simple inconvenience, it can have quite serious repercussions for some individuals, often leading to the wrong treatment plan and prescriptions.
If you have been misdiagnosed, there are many thoughts that may have crossed your mind since. The first thing you need to recognize is that the misdiagnosis needs to be addressed as soon as possible and that the proper steps need to be taken to reduce or eliminate any harmful consequences. Once the problem is solved, though, what happens to the medical professional who misdiagnosed you? Are there consequences for such a mistake?
Some people’s misdiagnoses are so severe that consequences such as legal suit are in order. If you’re one of those people, here are some important things you need to know about filing a suit for a misdiagnosis.
When is it Appropriate to File a Failure to Diagnose Lawsuit?
Firstly, it is important to recognize that medical professionals are humans just like the rest of us, and it is entirely possible for them to make mistakes. Not every misdiagnosis or other error constitutes a foundation for suing, so you need to know how to differentiate between circumstances and determine the most appropriate course of action.
Some things you need to consider are:
- Was there an established doctor-patient relationship?
- Was there a breach of patient care?
- Did the patient suffer harm due to the failure of diagnosis/misdiagnosis?
- Was the harm suffered a direct result of the error?
It is not realistic to take all of this into consideration on your own. For this decision-making process, it is wise to enlist the help of failure to diagnose lawyers. A third party will be able to evaluate the situation without any feelings that you may be experiencing as the victim, giving them greater clarity in planning a course of action.
The proper lawyers will help you to determine whether you have a valid case of medical negligence or a medical malpractice claim.
Identifying a Medical Malpractice Event
You may not always be able to tell whether a doctor has made a genuine mistake in your evaluation or if they’ve been intentionally negligent. There are many misdiagnosis scenarios in which the doctor could have genuinely mistaken your symptoms to be indicative of another condition. However, there is also an abundance of situations in which a misdiagnosis is not so simple and can lead to worsening conditions.
For example, a doctor may have altogether failed to screen for all possible medical conditions, neglected to refer a patient to a specialist that may better recognize their symptoms, or completed a faulty or incomplete interpretation of lab results.
No matter what the cause, know that, when there is substantial evidence for neglect on behalf of the physician that resulted in worsening medical conditions for the patient, medical professionals can be sued for misdiagnosis. (Keep in mind, though, that most often, only the primary care physician can be sued. It is rare that other medical professionals such as nurses, laboratory technicians, etc. can be sued.)