The failure of a doctor to diagnose a patient’s condition may be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. However, the question of whether misdiagnosis is considered medical malpractice in Maryland depends on the circumstances. The failure of a GP, a specialist or another medical professional to diagnose a condition is one of the most common types of medical malpractice. It can be heartbreaking if a doctor misdiagnoses a condition such as cancer and the mistake is only discovered when it’s too late to save the patient’s life. However, if a doctor makes an incorrect diagnosis and the patient suffers no harm from the mistake, the patient will be unsuccessful in a medical malpractice claim.
If you think you suffered from an incorrect diagnosis or a family member experienced harm because of a delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis, talk The Rice, Murtha & Psoras about a possible Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit. Maryland misdiagnosis injury lawyer Randolph Rice explains whether or not misdiagnosis is considered medical malpractice in the state of Maryland.
How Often Does Misdiagnosis Occur in Maryland?
Research suggests medical misdiagnosis is far more common than most people believe. Patients typically trust their doctors to give them proper treatment. This is not always the case. According to a 2014 study, outpatient clinics misdiagnose 12 million patients every year, equating to 1 in 20 adults, noted Medical News Today. These medical misdiagnoses have led to injury and wrongful death of patients.
Alarmingly, half of these errors, equating to 6 million outpatients a year, had the potential to “severely harm” patients.
In 2018, the Medical Professional Liability Association reported on how a failure to diagnose is responsible for the second-highest number of medical professional liability claims in the country. Most of these cases were settled before they reached court.
When is Is Misdiagnosis Considered Medical Malpractice in Maryland?
Misdiagnosis takes many forms. They include:
- An incorrect diagnosis leading to a potentially ineffective or harmful course of treatment
- A delayed diagnosis that causes the patient’s condition to deteriorate
- A missed diagnosis
- A failure to recognize complications that alters or aggravates an existing condition
- A failure to recognize a second diagnosis must be made
- An incorrect test result from a lab due to equipment failure or human error
Medical malpractice cases are notoriously tricky and complicated to bring. It’s not enough to suggest an incorrect diagnosis was made. The patient must also show:
- He or she was in a doctor-patient relationship
- The doctor failed to adhere to a standard of care in diagnosing the patient’s condition
- The doctor, surgeon or other medical professional’s failure to diagnose or incorrect diagnosis caused an injury
Many medical malpractice lawsuits end up in arguments over the standard of care and whether the doctor’s misdiagnosis led to an injury.
How to Prove Misdiagnosis for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Maryland
Patients seeking to make a medical malpractice case must show a doctor in a similar specialty would not have made the same misdiagnosis. This is difficult to prove, putting medical malpractice cases in a more complicated bracket than car crash claims. If, for instance, a doctor misdiagnosed a rare tropical disease a patient contracted, he or she may not have committed medical malpractice if another doctor in the same field would likely have made the same mistake.
When you hire a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer, we will talk to medical experts about your treatment at a hospital. Without expert evidence it can be challenging to prove that a delayed or missed cancer diagnosis, for example, caused a patient’s condition to go beyond the stage where it was treatable, leading to his death.
Does the Severity of a Misdiagnosis Injury Impact the Medical Malpractice Claim?
The issue of the severity of an injury was considered by the Court of Appeals of Maryland in the case of Green v. North Arundel Hospital Association, Inc.
The justices said a patient could suffer an “injury” from a negligent misdiagnosis if he or she experiences pain or another manifestation of an injury or the disease advances beyond the point where it was at the time of the misdiagnosis. It must have advanced to a point where it can no longer effectively be treated, it cannot be treated as well or as completely as at the time of the misdiagnosis, or treatment would involve expense or bad side effects that “would not likely have occurred had treatment commenced at the earlier time,” or the patient dies.
Statute of Limitations for Misdiagnosis Lawsuits in Maryland
Medical malpractice claims in Maryland are subject to the statute of limitations. You must file a suit within five years of the time the misdiagnosis-linked injury was committed or three years from the date the damage to the patient was known about. Consider filing a lawsuit as soon as you realize a doctor made a negligent and harmful misdiagnosis. If you run out of time, you will not be able to bring a medical malpractice case in Maryland.
Who Can You Sue for a Medical Malpractice Misdiagnosis Case in Maryland?
Many patients who are harmed by doctors file suits against the hospitals they were treated at. However, a doctor must be an employee of the hospital for you to sue the hospital. If the doctor is an independent contractor, you must file a lawsuit against the medical practitioner who harmed you personally. The doctor should have medical liability insurance. The misdiagnosis may be the fault of another party like a lab technician or a nurse. In some cases, more than one party can be held liable for a patient’s injuries.
Talk to Baltimore Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney Randolph Rice Today
Medical misdiagnosis cases are often traumatic for all parties involved. Patients and their families typically trust doctors and surgeons. Hospitals like Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore and its doctors know their professional reputations are on the line when medical malpractice lawsuits are filed. These cases are often contested.
Always seek legal advice in medical malpractice cases. It’s tough to take on a hospital or its doctors on your own. At the Rice, Murtha & Psoras, we will help you make an informed decision. Please contact our Baltimore personal injury lawyer today for a free consultation.