Wrong Diagnosis

Being misdiagnosed or having a wrong or delayed diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death for some patients. Approximately 20 percent of patients who died in the intensive care unit between 1994 and 1996 were misdiagnosed by their doctors, reports a study in the journal Chest.

Types of Diagnosis Errors

Diagnosis errors can occur for numerous reasons. The lab may make mistakes, the doctor may misread test results, or the doctor can mistake the condition for another. The doctor may also fail to order necessary medical tests, which could delay the diagnosis and allow time for the condition to worsen.

Below are a few examples of diagnosis errors.

  • Heart attack: Doctors, particularly in the emergency room, may fail to correlate a patient’s symptoms to having a heart attack. If the patient is sent home without a proper diagnosis and treatment, he or she could have another more serious heart attack.
  • Cancer late diagnosis: If a patient reports symptoms and the doctor doesn’t perform proper testing, late diagnosis could wind up killing the patient.
  • Appendicitis – The accuracy in diagnosing acute appendicitis is about 80 percent, according to Medscape. Misdiagnosed and delayed diagnosis of appendicitis can increase the risk of death for some patients.

Some other conditions that may be misdiagnosed are below.

  • Stroke
  • Infection
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Meningitis
  • Celiac disease

Free Consultation

If you or your loved one was misdiagnosed or your condition worsened because of a late diagnosis, call a medical malpractice attorney at Chalik & Chalik for help.

Without proper and timely diagnosis, patients may not get the treatments they need. Because doctors have a legal duty of care to patients, some cases of misdiagnosis, wrong or late diagnosis might constitute medical malpractice.

Do you have a medical malpractice case?

There are a lot of reasons why conditions may be misdiagnosed. There could be carelessness and lack of thoroughness on the doctor’s part, conditions may overlap each other, and symptoms may mimic those of another condition.

Not all cases of a missed, delayed, or wrong diagnosis constitute medical malpractice. In order to have a valid case, the patient must have been injured by the doctor’s negligence.

A misdiagnosis or late diagnosis itself is not enough for the courts to consider a doctor negligent. The litmus test is whether or not another doctor under similar circumstances would have made the same decisions and diagnosis as the doctor in question.

The courts will also consider whether or not the doctor used the “differential diagnosis” method, which is a process of narrowing down possible conditions until a probable cause is found. If the doctor made all the reasonable steps to attempt diagnosis, malpractice might not be an issue.

However, if the doctor failed to follow proper procedures, acted carelessly, or didn’t order the correct tests in a timely manner, the victim (or his/her family) might have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit worth pursuing.

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