We trust our doctors to recommend the best treatment for any medical condition we may have. We trust their expertise and knowledge to promptly determine the cause of illness, but one of the most common medical mistakes is a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. A study by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine listed an inaccurate diagnosis as the number one cause of serious medical errors.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm or even death due to the misdiagnosis of a serious medical condition, consult an experienced Baltimore attorney knowledgeable in death and injuries caused by misdiagnosis. The diligent attorneys at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice will guide you through your medical malpractice claim. Call (410) 431-0911 today to schedule a free consultation.
Medical Malpractice and Misdiagnosis
Serious medical errors can happen: a prescription for the wrong medication is written, a surgeon accidentally leaves a sponge in a patient after surgery, or a technician administers a dangerous dosage of radiation. However, diagnostic errors are the most common, catastrophic, and costly of all medical mistakes. One in three malpractice claims that results in death or permanent disability comes from a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
Not every misdiagnosis rises to the level of negligence or malpractice. To prove medical malpractice, the injured patient must prove four elements of the case. The first element is that the doctor owed the patient a duty of care. The second element is that the doctor acted negligently, breaching the duty of care. This means that the doctor failed to provide competent treatment based on the skill and knowledge expected of a similarly trained doctor in the given situation. The third element is that the doctor’s negligent conduct must have directly caused the patient’s injury or harm. And, finally, the patient must prove that they suffered actual harm to satisfy the fourth element.
Types of Misdiagnosis in Malpractice Lawsuits in Baltimore
One of the most serious consequences of misdiagnosing a medical condition is that a patient could receive the wrong treatment or medication. A patient could lose the opportunity for successful treatment, increasing the risk of severe medical consequences or a potentially fatal outcome. The three most common conditions misdiagnosed are cancer, vascular events, and infection. More specifically, the conditions are lung cancer, stroke, and sepsis. The vast majority of misdiagnoses occur in emergency departments or outpatient clinics.
The term misdiagnosis encompasses several potential actions – not simply incorrectly assessing a patient’s medical condition. What a doctor fails or neglects to do can be the primary cause of a dangerous misdiagnosis. Some of the most common are the following:
Incorrect or Missed Diagnosis
A doctor can incorrectly diagnose a patient based on the symptoms presented or diagnostic tests given. In some circumstances, a doctor might mistakenly fail to diagnosis an actual existing medical condition and declare a patient healthy.
Misdiagnosis Due to a Doctor’s Inaction
When treating a patient, there are reasonable and expected steps a competent doctor should take to ensure an accurate diagnosis. A patient’s condition might worsen or go undetected if a doctor failed to comply with standard procedures. These include neglecting to screen for a specific condition or to not sending a patient to a specialist.
Misdiagnosis Through Miscommunication
Communication breakdowns can result in dangerous misdiagnoses. A doctor who neglects to properly and thoroughly consult with a patient about their symptoms or medical history can easily misdiagnose a condition. Furthermore, a doctor may rely on inaccurate information if they fail to communicate with nurses or medical staff that conduct diagnostic tests.
Failure to promptly diagnose a severe medical condition can significantly reduce the chance of successful treatment. Any misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose could result in a delay in diagnosis until the patient seeks a second opinion.
Misdiagnosed or Missed Side Effects
A patient’s condition might worsen if a doctor makes a correct diagnosis but fails to anticipate reasonable complications. These side-effects could be worse than the condition they were used to treat, especially in cases of allergic reactions or dangerous drug interactions.
Emergency Room Misdiagnosis
Incorrect diagnosis is more likely in an emergency room than in any other medical setting. In a hectic emergency room environment, missed common conditions or illnesses lead to a greater risk of harm.
Other Reasons for Misdiagnosis
Other actions or mistakes can lead to a doctor making an incorrect diagnosis. For example, lab test results could be inaccurate due to human error or because of defective equipment. If there is information your doctor relied on that was inaccurate due to negligence, you may have a medical malpractice claim against a lab technician, hospital staff, or the hospital.
Damages in a Misdiagnosis Lawsuit in Baltimore
If you have suffered harm from a health care provider’s misdiagnosis, it is important to consult with an attorney who understands injuries or death caused by misdiagnosis.
For a medical malpractice claim arising from misdiagnosis to be successful, a patient must be able to prove actual harm and injury. Harmful consequences can result from commonly misdiagnosed conditions such as cancer, heart attack, infections, diabetes, some chronic medical conditions, and asthma. These consequences may include unneeded surgery, increased risk of severe complications, unnecessary treatments, dangerous treatments, or an increased chance of death.
A misdiagnosis medical malpractice lawyer will help prove you suffered harm as a direct result of a misdiagnosis and seek financial compensation for these harms as well as damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, and other effects on you and your family.
Call an Attorney for Injuries + Death Caused by a Misdiagnosis Today for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one is suffering harm or serious medical consequences due to a negligent misdiagnosis, call an experienced medical malpractice attorney to help you get compensated. The diligent lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice help patients who were harmed by negligent misdiagnoses. Call (410) 431-0911 today to schedule a free consultation.