You trust your doctor. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t go see them. Whether you’re going to your primary care physician for a routine checkup or you’re going to see a specialist, you trust that the doctor you’re seeing is giving you a thorough exam and an accurate diagnosis.
But sometimes, doctors make mistakes. This is called a medical misdiagnosis. According to the United States National Institutes of Health, doctors misdiagnose about 12 million people each year. While that only equates to about 5 percent of all medical diagnoses in a year, that is still many people who could have potentially life-threatening misdiagnoses.
If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed by a medical professional, it could cost you lots of time, money, and pain. A trusted medical malpractice lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve to help you treat your real illness and recover from the wrong medical diagnosis. Dealing with serious health issues and getting treatment for the wrong ailment can lead to many complications. Let us help you get back on the right track.
A medical misdiagnosis is when a medical professional misdiagnosis or does not diagnose a disease or illness. Some types of medical misdiagnoses are fatal, others are not as severe. A misdiagnosis can lead to your death, unnecessary pain, undue stress, additional medical complications, and anxiety. Besides your physical suffering, misdiagnosis can lead to wasted time, money, and medical procedures.
Conditions Commonly Misdiagnosed
Every case and client is different. But there are some illnesses which are more commonly misdiagnosed.
- Cancer – According to the American Cancer Society, over half a million people were expected to die from cancer in 2015. That is an alarming number of people. But what’s more disturbing is the rate with which doctors misdiagnose cancer. The BMJ Quality and Safety Journal estimates that 28 percent of cancer cases are misdiagnosed.
- Infections – Whether it’s an ear infection or an infection from a cut, infections are commonly misdiagnosed. This means you could take medicine for an infection that you don’t have. Not only could this lead to other illnesses, you’re also not getting your actual infection treated.
- Heart issues – The heart is a complex muscle and issues related to your heart can be misdiagnosed. When a misdiagnosis or even a failure to diagnose occurs, you could be at greater risk of a heart attack because your underlying issue isn’t getting resolved.
- Depression – Depression can be confused with other mental health conditions because of similar symptoms. But this is no excuse for a medical professional to misidentify depression.
- Stroke – Symptoms of a stroke are often similar to those of vertigo, migraine headaches, and even intoxication. A doctor owes a duty of care to patients to conduct a thorough examination and determine the actual cause. Failing to correctly diagnose a stroke can have dire consequences.
Regardless of the type of illness you were misdiagnosed with, it can cause serious, life-long complications requiring long-term care for you. When you face such dire circumstances, you need to have an advocate on your side who will aggressively fight on your behalf to get you the compensation you need to get better.
Types of Misdiagnosis
All illnesses are subject to potential misdiagnosis. Common types of misdiagnosis are:
- The wrong disease is diagnosed
- No disease is diagnosed
- Current condition is diagnosed but the underlying cause is not identified and treated
- Side effects of medication are mistaken for an illness
If you or a loved one suffered pain from a worsening medical condition or death because of a misdiagnosis, your claim must be brought forward to hold the responsible parties accountable. Let a medical malpractice attorney give you a full case evaluation to determine the specific circumstances surrounding your misdiagnosis.
A medical malpractice attorney can investigate, review medical records, take depositions, deal with insurance companies, all to help you get better. Law firms that take medical malpractice cases typically do all of this at no cost to you. They only get paid if you recover compensation.
Misdiagnosis as Medical Malpractice
For a misdiagnosis to meet the medical malpractice threshold, certain components must be met. These include:
- You were seeing the physician for a condition or treatment at the time of the misdiagnosis
- A doctor made a wrong diagnosis about your condition
- The physician’s misdiagnosis caused you additional injury or harm
You may be unsure if your situation meets these qualifications. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a skilled and trusted medical practice attorney. Medical malpractice is a complex and time-consuming area of the law. A regular personal injury lawyer may not have the experience you need to give you the best chance of recovery. Using the services of a seasoned medical malpractice lawyer in Orlando gives you the best chance of recovering what you need to make a full physical recovery.
Dangers of Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis poses many dangers to you. Even if your misdiagnosis is for an infection or other seemingly minor illness, you could take medication meant for another condition. This could lead to complications from the medication besides not treating your actual condition. With a misdiagnosis, you could face:
- Complications from medicine
- Unnecessary procedures
- Longer recovery
- Lasting effects
Many times, a misdiagnosis means you could face unnecessary medical procedures, including surgery. If you are diagnosed with a condition requiring surgery, you may end up going through with that surgery and the painful recovery process, all without reason. When this happens, it creates frustration, but also fear, because you don’t really know what your illness is and how to get better.
Your ability to recover from your illness hinges on your doctor’s ability to accurately determine your illness. When a doctor fails in this duty to you, you could end up much worse off both physically and financially. But it’s important to remember that you did not force your doctor to make a wrong diagnosis so you should not have to pay any of the bills associated with your recovery.
Steps to Take After a Misdiagnosis
If you think you or a loved one has been given a misdiagnosis, there are certain steps you need to take right away.
- Get medical attention. You may need to see another doctor as soon as possible. This other doctor will be able to give you a second opinion on your first doctor’s diagnosis. This is important because it allows you to express your concerns and have a different physician review your medical records and your previous diagnosis. By having a record of your illness and new diagnosis, your medical malpractice lawyer has a better chance to get you the full value of your claim to make sure you don’t have to pay out of pocket for any of your recovery.
- Don’t speak with the insurance company. Don’t give them a statement until you’ve spoken with a trusted medical malpractice attorney. The insurance company will try to make you seem at fault for your illness so they don’t have to pay out your claim. Even saying something seemingly innocent like “I let this go on too long” could lead the insurance company to fight your claim tooth and nail making it more challenging for you to make a complete recovery.
- Keep a journal. As you progress through your recovery process, it’s important to keep a journal of how you feel, what improvements you make, and any setbacks that occur. Keep note of how you’re feeling and why you think your doctor misdiagnosed you. Keeping this journal makes certain that you forget nothing. By keeping a record of your medical progress day to day, your medical malpractice attorney can better see your progress, or lack thereof, and help to get you the compensation you need to get better. If you don’t keep a journal, you may not remember the incredibly painful days or the smaller setbacks you suffered. These are all important to your claim.
- Call a medical malpractice law firm. Making sure you have trusted legal representation can go a long way to lifting the burden off your shoulders. You deserve the peace of mind knowing your attorney has your best interests at heart.
Insurance Company Tactics
When you file a medical malpractice claim, the insurance company of the doctor will contact you. They will offer you a settlement knowing you are out of work and facing a pile of medical bills on your kitchen table. This offer from the insurance company will be a low ball offer and you should not take it until you speak with a skilled and seasoned medical malpractice attorney.
The insurance company knows you need fast cash. That’s why they offer you the low ball settlement. Insurance companies are in the business of making money and they don’t make money if they pay the full value of your claim. Their initial offer will only cover the bills you have in front of you, nothing more.
When you’ve been misdiagnosed, you’re suffering. You need help. You need guidance. You need to treat your actual ailment. When you work with us, we’ll give you a full case evaluation and create an accurate estimate of your future costs. You shouldn’t get compensation for just those bills sitting on your kitchen table. You need to have all of your bills covered, from the existing bills you’ve been paying for your misdiagnosis as well as the future medical costs to treat your original condition.
We will help you create an accurate estimate of your future costs so you aren’t shortchanged. While your future medical costs may be hard to calculate, we’ve helped many clients just like you determine what they’ll need to continue living their life as best they can. We will also work with the insurance company to get you a fair settlement offer. But we’ll never settle unless it’s right for you. While it’s true that most medical malpractice cases settle out of court, if your case needs to go to trial, we are fully prepared and experienced to guide you through that process.
Damages to Fight For
When you or a loved one was misdiagnosed or a doctor has failed to diagnose you, place your sole focus on your recovery. Depending on your circumstances, a medical malpractice attorney can fight to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
- Loss of companionship
Your injury directly results from your doctor failing to diagnose your condition correctly. That should not go unresolved. To make sure you get the compensation you deserve to make a full recovery, you need to work with a medical malpractice attorney who has the skill, the experience, and the aggressive determination to help you get better by giving you the best chance of recovering for your injuries.
A Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help Answer Your Questions
Meeting with an experienced team of medical malpractice attorneys is your first step toward making a recovery and getting your life back on track. Your attorney can review your claim, investigate your case, negotiate with the insurance company, advise on settlement offers, and, if necessary, guide you through trial.
These services should come at no cost to you. Most medical malpractice attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means they only get paid if they help you to obtain compensation through a negotiated settlement or trial.
It’s your life and you deserve the best chance of making a complete recovery. To do that, you need to have an attorney on your side you trust to advise you correctly and have your best interests at heart. The first step is understanding what medical misdiagnosis is, and what to do next if you think you’ve been a victim of a medical misdiagnosis. If you have further questions, contact an experienced Seattle medical malpractice attorney to help you understand your options.