A large number of medical malpractice lawsuits stem from the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, illness, or injury. A doctor may be held liable for misdiagnosis if he or she deviates from established medical procedures that another doctor would follow in similar circumstances.
If a physician fails to diagnose an injury, disease, or medical condition you may not obtain the necessary care. This therapy might mean the difference between life and death in some cases. For example, if your doctor misses a cancer diagnosis, it may be too late for you to get life-saving therapy by the time you receive an accurate diagnosis. If a doctor takes too long to identify your disease, the implications might be devastating. If a doctor misdiagnoses you and then treats you for an illness that you do not have, the consequences can be disastrous. A doctor may also be held responsible if the right diagnosis is reached after an unreasonable delay.
How doctors diagnose illnesses
Generally, when you see your doctor about a specific medical issue or symptom, your doctor should follow what is known as a differential diagnosis. This is a systemic approach that physicians use to narrow a list of potential medical conditions in order to reach the correct diagnosis.
Ideally, your doctor will collect as much information as possible to reach the correct diagnosis, such as:
- Asking detailed questions about your symptoms and medical history
- Conducting medical tests
- Referring you to a specialist
It is important to understand that many physical or mental conditions may share similar symptoms. That is why even the most diligent physician can make a mistake in reaching a diagnosis. Legal action is therefore reserved for doctors who knowingly or carelessly abandon their duty to deliver healthcare using accepted medical practices. Many physical or mental disorders have identical symptoms. As a result, even the most conscientious physician might make a mistaken diagnosis. Legal action is thus reserved for doctors who deliberately or unknowingly fail to give healthcare in accordance with established medical standards.
How a misdiagnosis might occur
Failure to accurately diagnose an illness can have devastating physical, emotional, and financial consequences. Misdiagnosis is especially painful since it is oftentimes avoidable.
There are several scenarios in which a misdiagnosis might occur:
- Failing to recognise symptoms
- Failing to listen to patients
- Failing to examine a patients medical history
- Failing to order medical tests
Making a claim
You may be awarded compensation if there is evidence that a negligent doctor misdiagnosed a medical condition for you or a family member. You may be able to make a claim if:
- A doctor-patient relationship exists
- The doctor failed to uphold accepted medical standards and practices
- The negligence caused your injury
- You now have damages such as medical bills or pain and suffering
How we can help
If you or a loved one have suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis, you might wish to hold the medical professionals who harmed you accountable and seek compensation for your injuries. You may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost pay, mental anguish, and other damages. Proving a misdiagnosis is a complex legal process, and the challenge often discourages victims from pursuing their claims. We have helped our clients recover millions of dollars in damages for costs of immediate and long-term medical care, loss of income, pain and suffering, and other expenses. We've helped families recover damages for the loss of a loved one. Our Los Angeles based law firm invites you to contact us for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation to review your case!