According to a HealthDay News study, misdiagnosis claims make up the largest share of medical malpractice payouts in the country. Here are three common questions about what constitutes malpractice regarding wrong diagnoses and who might be liable.
1. What counts as a misdiagnosis?
Whether your doctor failed to make a timely or accurate diagnosis of your harmful medical condition, there may be several factors involved:
- Failure to evaluate you for a specific medical condition
- Failure to refer you to a specialist
- Failure to exhaustively consult with you about your symptoms
- Failure to follow up potential causes of your reported symptoms
- Misrepresentation of test results
In order to sue for medical malpractice, you must have proof that these actions or inactions resulted in significant harm.
2. How can I prove harm?
A delayed or faulty diagnosis may cause harm to you in various ways:
- Unnecessarily exposing you to harmful treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation
- Performing unnecessary surgery
- Exposing you to aggressive treatment that would not have been necessary if your condition was diagnosed earlier
- Increased chances of further complications
- Increased chances of death
If any of the above have happened to you, you might have a strong basis for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
3. Who can I sue?
In most cases of medical negligence, you can only file a lawsuit with your doctor. Since most doctors are independent contractors, the hospital or facility is usually not liable. Sometimes other related health care professionals can be sued if they contributed to causing you harm. These professionals include nurses, lab techs or other medical specialists.
Each case of misdiagnosis is unique and requires careful consideration before bringing a claim against your primary care provider. Consulting a medical malpractice lawyer about your situation can help you determine the best course of action.