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Is It Malpractice if Your Doctor Gives You the Wrong Diagnosis?

On Behalf of | Jun 22, 2022 | 3M Bair Hugger Lawsuits

When you entrust your healthcare to a medical professional, you assume that they will provide you with the care you need. However, not all care practitioners deserve the trust their patients place in them. An injury caused by a care provider’s misdiagnosis or careless decision can have lasting consequences. Contacting a misdiagnosis lawyer in Baltimore allows you to pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Being misdiagnosed can cause a dangerous condition to go untreated or result in you receiving treatments you didn’t need. In addition to the physical impact it has on your body, it can also cause a psychological strain. It’s common for individuals who have been misdiagnosed to feel scared or overwhelmed about what they should do next. If you were misdiagnosed, keep reading to learn what you need to know to seek compensation for your doctor’s error.

Is It Malpractice if Your Doctor Gives You the Wrong Diagnosis?

When your doctor diagnoses you with the wrong condition, that is called misdiagnosis. Misdiagnosis falls under the umbrella of medical malpractice, and you can, and should, seek financial compensation for an incorrect diagnosis that negatively impacted your life. In addition, if the misdiagnosis affected your loved one and contributed to their premature death, you can also pursue compensation on their behalf.

What You Need to Know About Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis occurs when a care provider makes an incorrect assumption or guess about the patient’s condition or misreads test results. While the thought of either scenario is unsettling, the average doctor will misdiagnose 5% of their patients during their career. Whether or not there are lasting repercussions for the care provider depends on whether the misdiagnosis was severe enough for the patient to seek legal counsel.

In most cases, only the care provider can be sued for malpractice because of misdiagnosis. Therefore, the hospital or care facility usually cannot be held responsible for the damages caused by a doctor’s misdiagnosis.

Example: Incorrect Assumption

When a care provider makes an incorrect assumption, it can be devastating to your health. For example, suppose you go to the doctor with back pain and they assume that it is a strained muscle. The doctor may be confident that it is only a strain and perform no testing, shrugging off your complaints and concerns. However, if later it is discovered that you had a herniated disc, which became worse because it was not addressed, the doctor’s assumption caused you harm.

Sometimes incorrect assumptions about your condition occur because your medical issue is presenting atypically. As an example, while most strokes present with the expected symptoms of limb weakness, difficulty speaking, and facial paralysis, some appear with the less common symptoms of dizziness and headaches. Missing a stroke diagnosis poses serious, often fatal, consequences for the patient, and care providers should be held accountable.

Example: Misreading Test Results

Sometimes even when tests are performed, misdiagnosis still occurs. Whether the issues with understanding the results happen due to a technological malfunction or human error doesn’t make a difference to a patient who was told they have stage one lymphoma when their cancer is actually in stage three. Patients deserve to be compensated for the suffering and loss of life quality they experienced, regardless of why the misdiagnosis occurred.

Seeking Compensation for Misdiagnosis in Baltimore

As soon as you realize you’ve been receiving subpar care and wonder if you have a case, you’ll want to contact a misdiagnosis lawyer in Baltimore. The sooner you discuss the details of your situation with a lawyer, the sooner you can determine if you have a case and begin to pursue compensation for your emotional and physical injuries. You’ll want to come prepared for the consultation with any documentation pertaining to the misdiagnoses.

The more information you bring to the consultation, the easier it will be for the attorney to evaluate the validity of your claim and advise you on your next steps. If the lawyer believes you have a case and you decide to hire them as your legal representative, they will start the process of gathering more evidence to prove your malpractice claim. They will also begin researching your doctor’s history and securing other care providers as consultants for your case.

What Your Misdiagnosis Lawyer Must Prove

Unfortunately, filing a malpractice suit isn’t as simple as claiming a care provider failed to diagnose your condition or misdiagnosed you. Numerous criteria have to be met before a malpractice lawsuit can be filed. When you meet with your lawyer, they will determine if you have the following four factors necessary for a successful case.

The Patient-Doctor Relationship

Before you can sue your doctor for misdiagnosing you, there must be a clear doctor-patient relationship. When you have a patient-doctor relationship with a care provider, they have a duty to provide you with a baseline level of care. The parameters of your relationship have been determined, and you rely on your doctor to provide you with the medical care you require.

An Established Level of Care

Care providers are expected to perform a standard level of care. The standard level of care is the quality of care that any competent health care provider would find appropriate or reasonable. Your lawyer will consult doctors in the same field as your doctor to determine what level of care can be considered valid.

When you receive an appropriate level of care in a patient-doctor relationship, that means that if you have symptoms, your doctor should perform tests as necessary to determine the cause of your illness. They should also take care in reading any test results and rule out other options before arriving at a diagnosis.

Breach of the Expected Care Level

After the standard care level is established, you have parameters you can use to decide the appropriateness of your doctors diagnosis. If you compare your doctor’s actions to those of doctors providing a standard level of care, and your doctor fails to provide reasonable care, the third factor necessary for a misdiagnosis lawsuit has been established.

Keep in mind that if a doctor with similar experience and qualifications makes the exact diagnosis of your condition as your original doctor, your case presumably doesn’t fall under a breach of care. Alternatively, if a doctor with similar qualifications and experiences reaches a different diagnosis, you’ll want to determine whether your situation meets the last criteria for a medical malpractice suit.

Injury or Harm Caused by Breach of Duty

In order to have a malpractice suit, your doctor’s error needs to have harmed you, either physically or emotionally. If your doctor misdiagnoses you, but there are no repercussions or adverse effects, your case will be unsuccessful. A lawsuit cannot be filed unless the victim has suffered damages for which they seek compensation. In cases where the misdiagnosis resulted in the patient’s death, the deceased person’s family may be able to sue on their loved one’s behalf.

The most important thing following a misdiagnosis is getting the care you need to regain your health. Once you have received the medical care you need, seek compensation for your injuries and suffering. Contact Peter Angelos Law today; our team is ready to pursue the restitution you are owed.