A misdiagnosis can be one of the worst things that can happen to you when you go to see a doctor. In many cases, a misdiagnosis means that you will not have your condition treated, but it may also mean that the doctor thinks you have an entirely different medical problem. This can lead to unnecessary treatments, driving up the cost of your medical care and forcing you to undergo potentially dangerous treatments and surgeries or leading you to take unnecessary medication. If you had a medical condition misdiagnosed in Maryland, you might be entitled to sue your doctor. the Maryland misdiagnosis lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras explain how.
Who is at Fault for a Misdiagnosis or Failed Diagnosis Under Maryland Law?
In most cases where you suffer sub-par medical care or your doctor does not do everything they should have done to get you the care you need, your doctor is responsible. In some cases, the injuries and harm you suffered might rest on the shoulders of another member of the medical staff, such as a nurse or a physician’s assistant, but these kinds of issues are usually the doctor’s fault.
With most medical malpractice lawsuits in Maryland, you analyze who was at fault for the injuries and complications you faced by looking at the duties that each party owed you. Doctors owe their patients a duty of reasonable care, which means that they must provide you with care that meets the “standard of care” that other doctors with similar training and experience would provide. If the care they offered fell below those standards, you can usually sue them for medical malpractice, including in cases of wrongful misdiagnosis.
In some cases, the hospital might also share some level of blame and fault. Many times, the doctors at a hospital are private practitioners that happen to use the hospital for their own patients. In these cases, the hospital is not usually responsible for the doctor’s errors. However, in cases where the doctor is a hospital employee, you might be entitled to sue the hospital for the errors its employee committed. You can also sue hospitals for hospital negligence if they mixed up test results, if their lab technicians tainted results, if machines or scanners were improperly calibrated, or if other mistakes in the background caused your misdiagnosis.
Proving a Medical Malpractice Claim for Misdiagnosis in Maryland
When you sue a doctor for a misdiagnosis, you must prove that their failure to properly diagnose you fell below the standard of care. Many illnesses and medical conditions are obvious, and even people without medical training can identify the signs and symptoms of the illness or issue you might be facing. With other conditions, even the most skilled doctors might be unable to tell one condition apart from another similar condition.
In any case dealing with misdiagnosis, you typically need to show that the doctor’s inability to properly diagnose your condition was unreasonable. If other doctors with similar training and experience can testify that they would have been able to properly diagnose and treat your condition, this can help your case. In fact, Maryland law requires all medical malpractice victims to produce a medical expert to certify that their claim is legitimate, and the victim will usually have a similar expert testify in court as part of their case.
In cases where your doctor barely engaged with you or looked into your symptoms, the doctor’s negligence is more obvious. A doctor who fails to take a patient’s complaints seriously or accuses the patient of overreacting can often miss serious illnesses, injuries, and conditions that can cause serious harm if left untreated.
Doctors might also fail to properly diagnose your condition because they were too stubborn to question their initial hunch. Doctors are typically trained to diagnose patients with more common illnesses over rare ones when presented with symptoms that could match either condition, but the doctor should usually run additional tests to rule out other conditions rather than assuming their guess was correct. If your doctor failed to investigate your condition further and run additional tests, you might be able to sue them for malpractice.
The worst types of injuries and complications from misdiagnosis occur when your doctor learns they failed to properly diagnose your condition but then fails to correct their mistakes. In these cases, you may continue to face treatment for a condition that you do not have because your doctor refuses to reveal that they made a mistake or that your condition was not as serious as initially assumed.
Damages for Misdiagnosis Lawsuits in Maryland
If your doctor failed to properly diagnose your condition or mistakenly diagnosed you with another condition and began treatment for that condition, you could face serious injuries and complications. In these cases, you will often undergo additional medical care for the wrong condition, potentially suffering the effects of harmful surgeries and dangerous medication. In cases of misdiagnosis of cancer, you could even face unnecessary chemotherapy, radiation treatment, mastectomy, orchiectomy, and other harmful procedures.
You might also need to seek second opinions before you discover the true diagnosis, which adds additional costs as well. If your condition gets worse, you may also have to miss work and may suffer a decline in your overall health that cannot be reversed.
In most claims for misdiagnosis, you can claim damages for these additional medical care costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, worsened condition, and the mental stress of not knowing what’s truly wrong with you. If a misdiagnosis led to the death of a loved one, you might also be entitled to additional compensation for the deceased’s funeral and burial costs, lost wages, lost household services, and other damages.
Talk to one of our Maryland personal injury lawyers for help understanding what your claim is worth.
Call Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers for Victims of Misdiagnosis
If you or a loved one was the victim of a misdiagnosis or failed diagnosis, contact Rice, Murtha & Psoras today. Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers represent injury victims and their families in medical malpractice claims and other injury lawsuits. Our attorneys fight to get you and your family the compensation you need. Call our law offices today at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free legal consultation on your potential case.