Being misdiagnosed can be not only seriously frustrating but also extremely dangerous. If you are misdiagnosed and begin a treatment plan for the wrong ailment, that means your true condition is not being adequately addressed and can lead to further medical issues.
Here are the answers to your questions about misdiagnosis:
How can negligence lead to a misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is often influenced by negligence in the following ways:
- Misinterpretation of test results
- Failure to learn the patient’s medical history
- Failure to order tests
- Test delays
- Lack of diagnosis confirmation by other healthcare professionals
- Failure to pursue further diagnostic tests with the patient when startling elements are present
Is my doctor within his or her rights for refusing to request a second opinion?
It depends on the circumstances. A doctor must violate the standard of care in order to be found medically negligent for something they’ve done.
If your ailment is not easy to diagnose and the results are ambiguous, the standard of care in such a circumstance may warrant a second opinion. In order to use this argument in court, you’ll need to prove that getting a second opinion is the proper standard of care for this situation.
Can I sue my doctor even if it’s been years since the misdiagnosis?
In the state of Indiana, you have two years from the date you learned of the misdiagnosis to file suit. However, if you didn’t find out about the misdiagnosis until after two years from the date it occurred, you’ll need to prove that it took some time to discover the medical error.
Indiana has a special rule that allows you to toll the statute of limitations for 90 days. This means that you can delay the running of the clock for 90 days by filing a “proposed complaint” with the “medical review panel.”
What damages are recoverable in a misdiagnosis case?
In order to recover damages in a misdiagnosis case, you’ll need to prove that your doctor’s negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused your injury or illness to exacerbate to a point it wouldn’t have if it had been properly diagnosed in a reasonable amount of time.
Economic and non-economic damages are possible, but which ones all depend on your particular situation.
Will my case be impacted if I pursue treatment?
No, your case will not be negatively affected if you pursue medical treatment. The truth is, if you don’t seek medical treatment after finding out you have a certain ailment brought on by a healthcare professional’s negligence, then your case may be diminished.
What are some things I can do to help prevent a misdiagnosis?
You can do the following things to help prevent a misdiagnosis:
- Speak up - Ask lots of questions about your diagnosis and treatment. Ask questions like, “What else could this be?” Don’t stop asking questions until you are completely satisfied with the answers.
- Get a second opinion - Be sure to tell the doctor about all of your symptoms. Be unbiased—don’t lead their thinking toward the first doctor’s diagnosis.
- Be aware of your family medical history - Be sure your doctor is aware of it too. Studies show you can learn a lot about the kinds of illnesses you may have or are likely to contract from your family medical history.
- Bring someone to your doctor visits - It can be challenging to process difficult medical news and make note of all the pertinent details simultaneously. Take a friend or family member with you to remind you of the questions you want to ask and to help you record important information.
- Re-check your pathology - If your diagnosis is based on your pathology report from a biopsy, it may be helpful to have it reviewed a second time. It’s frightening to consider, but pathology is incorrectly interpreted more often than you might think. If your pathology is improperly interpreted, then your diagnosis and treatment will likely also be wrong.
An incorrect diagnosis can be a very difficult situation to endure, but you don’t have to live the rest of your life without recourse. Our attorneys have helped many other people in similar situations recover compensation, and we may be able to help you, too. If you need us, we’re here to help.