When we’re worried about our health, we put our trust in the hands of doctors to determine what’s going on with our bodies. Unfortunately, not all medical professionals make accurate diagnoses. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 12 million patients are misdiagnosed every single year in the United States. As a result, many suffer from worsened conditions. If you’ve experienced this type of medical neglect, our Philadelphia misdiagnosis lawyer is here for you.
Causes of Misdiagnoses
While there are a number of different reasons patients leave medical facilities with misdiagnosed conditions, none of them are excusable. If you’ve suffered as a result of a misdiagnosis, it may be a result of one of the causes listed below.
Human Error. This plays a large role in the number of misdiagnosed conditions. Doctors are often overworked and fatigued. When this happens, they may miss important signs that could give them an idea of what a patient is really suffering from. Human error also occurs in the communication process. If the medical staff does not properly relay messages and keep track of what a patient is experiencing, their conditions may go undiagnosed and untreated.
Inadequate Training. The medical field is continuously advancing; however, there are a number of mysterious conditions and advanced diseases that not every doctor is fully aware of. If a doctor does not have the knowledge necessary to diagnose a patient, the signs and symptoms may be confused with a different condition. This is why it’s important for doctors to consult with other physicians in the event of a confusing or unexplainable case.
Improper Testing. Depending on the symptoms a patient is experiencing, doctors tend to order specific tests. If the proper tests are not ordered, the underlying issues a patient is experiencing may worsen. Doctors need to use their best judgment while listening to patients to determine the best course of action.
Patients who have suffered as a result of negligent doctors have the right to file a medical malpractice claim in an attempt to recover what they’ve lost. Our attorneys can help you start the process today.
Delayed Diagnosis Versus Failure to Diagnose
While conditions may be misdiagnosed in terms of the type of illness, other patients suffer when they receive an untimely diagnosis or no diagnosis at all. It’s important to understand the difference in neglect, so you can determine the grounds for your lawsuit.
For a medical malpractice claim to be considered a delayed diagnosis, the patient still suffers from some harm; however, the outcome would have been different if their doctor had acted appropriately.
If a patient goes to a doctor with complaints of neck pain and is told to wait to see how the condition develops instead of being sent for a test that could easily identify what was wrong, and the patient’s condition worsens as a result, the doctor should be held accountable for delaying the diagnosis. While the doctor did not directly cause the condition, their actions exacerbated it.
In order to prove a delayed diagnosis has occurred, the victim must be able to show there was a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor acted negligently, and the patient was harmed as a result of that negligence. The right legal team can help you build a strong case.
Failure to Diagnose
When your doctor completely misses a connection between your symptoms and a medical condition, it’s likely your medical condition will worsen. When this happens, patients may suffer life-long consequences or even lose their lives.
In order to make a proper diagnosis, your doctor should take into consideration your family and medical history, what you’re experiencing, what they see, and what the right tests tell them. If they ignore the facts in front of them or simply neglect to do their job, they’re putting their patients at risk.
The right lawyer will be able to find an expert witness who will be able to explain what missteps a doctor took to prove the victim, or the victim’s family, should be compensated for what they’ve been through.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions
Unfortunately, there are certain illnesses or conditions that are more commonly misdiagnosed than others. Many of these conditions have symptoms that present in less severe cases, which is why doctors might mistake them for something else. Some of the most commonly missed conditions are:
- Heart Attack
- Lyme Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Thyroid Conditions
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Aortic Dissection
The most commonly misdiagnosed disease is cancer. A cancer misdiagnosis can be devastating. In some cases, a person may be diagnosed with a treatable illness, only to find out their doctor was wrong, and that they have terminal cancer. In other cases, the cancer may go completely undetected or a patient without cancer may undergo chemotherapy and radiation to eradicate a disease that is not there.
This type of medical error occurs when medical charts are fragmented or information is missing, when patients are inadequately evaluated because of time, and when there is a lack of complete family and medical history.
Consult a Misdiagnosis Lawyer in Philadelphia
Not every misdiagnosis can be deemed malpractice. It will take a skilled attorney to determine what the medical professional did and did not do when arriving at a diagnosis. For a patient to receive compensation for what they’ve been through, they’ll need to prove a different doctor, with a similar specialty, would not have misdiagnosed their condition or illness. The patient must also prove their condition progressed beyond where it would have if it had been diagnosed correctly.
At Shrager & Sachs, our Philadelphia misdiagnosis lawyers are prepared to do whatever it takes to hold the negligent doctor accountable for their actions. Medical malpractice cases can be complex and frustrating – especially if the hospital gets involved. We can present a strong case on your behalf. For more information about your legal rights and options after a misdiagnosis, contact our office today.