Approximately 40 percent of Americans who visit a doctor have the feeling that they’ve been misdiagnosed, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control. The Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Sciences, additionally reports that more Americans die every year from medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis, than die from breast cancer or automobile accidents. Misdiagnosis is rising, and it’s disturbingly common. If you or a loved one has been a victim of medical misdiagnosis, contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Most people start to believe they have been misdiagnosed only after they begin a medical treatment prescribed by a doctor, such as taking a prescription drug or changing their lifestyle, and their symptoms get worse rather than better. Others immediately feel they are victims of misdiagnosis; they may sense the doctor did not take them seriously for some reason or did not interpret the results of a test correctly. The poor, the uninsured, and minorities are the groups most likely to feel doctors aren’t taking their complaints seriously.
Researchers have found that certain conditions are more commonly diagnosed than others. These health conditions include pneumonia, cancer, acute decompensated heart failure, acute renal failure, and urinary tract infections. Researchers also discovered that in 80% of cases where misdiagnosis occurred, doctors failed to consider all of the possibilities and therefore did not come to the correct diagnosis. A doctor is supposed to list out any health condition that could be causing a patient’s symptoms and then test the likelihood of each by making observations, ordering tests, referring the patient to a specialist or asking detailed questions about the patient’s current health and medical history.
Legally, medical misdiagnosis may be considered medical malpractice, and in fact, it is the most common type of medical malpractice. Medical misdiagnosis is defined as a doctor or other healthcare professional either failing to diagnose a disease or other medical issue or incorrectly diagnosing the disease or condition.
Healthcare professionals assume a legal obligation to offer to their patients care and treatment in accord with established healthcare standards. When they don’t, it’s negligence, and that’s the starting point for a malpractice claim. Medical malpractice victims have a legal right to compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.
To increase your chances of recovering compensation, it’s a wise practice to keep notes and records of visits to doctors, prescriptions, and treatments. If you believe you have a disease or some other medical issue that was not taken seriously, see another doctor to obtain a second opinion, and bring your complaint to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
A good personal injury lawyer may be able to win for you compensation for pain and suffering, lost income, and more. Always make and keep copies of any medical or insurance paperwork related to your condition. If your misdiagnosis has resulted in a personal injury, an experienced personal injury attorney can assess your situation and advise you regarding how to proceed.