When you go to the doctor because you experience new symptoms, it can be a difficult and frightening experience to endure. The uncertainty of not knowing what’s wrong can be seriously stressful and disturbing.
When you leave with a diagnosis, some of the weight lifts off your shoulders because at least now you know what’s wrong. But what happens if your doctor provides an inaccurate diagnosis? This is referred to as “misdiagnosis.”
A Misdiagnosis Can Be Harmful
If your doctor diagnoses you incorrectly or there is an unreasonable delay in your diagnosis, misdiagnosis is the result. If the misdiagnosis leads to improper care, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all, then your ailment can exacerbate further, even to the point of death. However, in order to file suit for misdiagnosis, the mistake must cause harm to you to some degree.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice Due to Misdiagnosis
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit for misdiagnosis, you must be able to prove the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed
- The doctor acted negligently by failing to provide treatment in a reasonably skilled and competent fashion
- The doctor’s negligence lead to your injury
Proving Doctor Negligence
The differential diagnosis method helps doctors identify a disease or condition. They do this by making a list of your possible diagnoses in order of probability. Then, the strength of each diagnosis is tested through the use of the following:
- Further medical observations
- Asking detailed questions about symptoms and medical history
- Ordering tests
- Specialist referrals
The hope is that several potential diagnoses will be ruled out as more information is uncovered. In the end, just one diagnosis should remain.
For a viable medical malpractice suit to exist, you must be able to prove that another doctor in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, wouldn’t have misdiagnosed your illness or condition. Essentially, this means you must prove one of the following:
- The doctor failed to include the correct diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list, and a reasonably skilled and competent doctor in a similar situation would have.
- The doctor included the proper diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list but didn’t conduct the relevant tests or pursue specialist opinions to investigate the diagnosis’ viability.
Diagnostic Testing Errors
Oftentimes, in order to provide a diagnosis, your doctor must rely on results from laboratory tests, radiology films, or other types of tests. Testing errors can occur in the following ways:
- Faulty diagnostic equipment
- Human error
In a case like this, your doctor may not be the liable party for the misdiagnosis. Instead, for example, the technician that misread the pathology slide may be responsible for your injury. Regardless of who is at fault, you’ll need to prove that the error occurred due to negligence.
If you’ve been misdiagnosed by your doctor or another medical professional, you may be owed compensation. Let us see if we can help you recover it.