When a patient receives an incorrect diagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, the patient is at risk for severe medical issues, including worsening of their medical condition or even death. Not all incidences of mistakes in diagnosis constitute medical malpractice, but in some cases, the medical practitioner is at fault.
What is misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis occurs when a patient is diagnosed with a condition that they do not have. An incorrect diagnosis can lead to patients receiving the wrong type of treatment or receiving no treatment when treatment is necessary. A delayed diagnosis is also considered a form of misdiagnosis, and it occurs when a diagnosis is not given as early as possible.
When is a misdiagnosis considered medical malpractice?
Doctors are not liable for every error they make in diagnosing patients. If they were, they wouldn’t be able to do their jobs. The human body is a complex system and there are so many conditions and ailments that can affect it (many which present in very similar and confusing ways) that even the most skilled doctor will inevitably make errors in diagnosing.
Medical malpractice has occurred when the medical practitioner is negligent—meaning that treatment was not provided competently as befitting the practitioner’s expertise—in some way that caused pain, injury, suffering, or death to the patient. In the case of misdiagnosis, an incorrect or delayed diagnosis only constitutes a case for malpractice when a doctor-patient relationship existed between the healthcare provider and the patient, the provider was negligent, and that the misdiagnosis resulted in actual injury to the patient. This injury could be physical, such as death resulting from incorrect treatment, or financial, expenses incurred pursuing unnecessary treatment.
If you believe misdiagnosis resulted in serious harm to you or a loved one, it’s time to speak with a lawyer. The attorneys at the Epstein Law Firm have years of experience with medical malpractice cases. Call today for a consultation.