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Medical Malpractice: How Serious is Misdiagnosis?

Posted on in Medical Malpractice

The doctor-patient relationship is a sacred one built on trust. The thought of a doctor causing you harm may never cross your mind, but that doesn't mean it never happens. Countless people suffer from medical malpractice each year.

While many forms of medical malpractice can cause a patient to suffer physical harm, one type of negligence prevents a patient from healing. Misdiagnosis is one of the most significant issues in medical facilities.

You must know what misdiagnosis is, how it happens, and the long-term impact. Here are some of the things you need to know:

What is Misdiagnosis?

A misdiagnosis occurs when the doctor diagnoses a patient with one condition when he or she is suffering from a different ailment. While this may not seem like something severe, it can have detrimental results when the missed condition is life-threatening.

Many conditions have similar symptoms. A cough can mean many different illnesses or diseases. It's up to the doctor to ensure he or she is checking the patient's symptoms to diagnose a condition accurately. When the doctor does not take every step necessary, misdiagnosis can happen.

What Causes Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis occurs because of multiple reasons. You must recognize what actions constitute negligence and how you can hold a doctor liable.

  • Ordering the wrong tests: When a doctor examines a patient for a condition, they may order specific tests to confirm their initial diagnosis. If the doctor orders the incorrect tests for the disease the patient has, he or she may miss the real condition.
  • Providing improper training: The doctor may not have had the training to understand advanced diseases, and he or she may not recognize the symptoms. Without this knowledge, the doctor may not order the necessary tests to differentiate one condition from another.
  • Testing was faulty: If laboratory tests, radiology equipment, or other instruments are flawed, they may not provide an accurate result. Doctors must test patients with working equipment and without human error (such as mixing up results).

To prove that negligence caused the misdiagnosis, you must show three factors.

  1. There was a patient-doctor relationship, thus creating a duty of care
  2. The doctor breached the duty of care and negligence exists
  3. The breach of duty caused actual harm to the patient under the doctor's care

What Happens When Misdiagnosis Occurs?

Problems concerning misdiagnosis are more about what doesn't occur than what does happen. It becomes particularly damaging when the patient is enduring a life-threatening condition that relies on early detection to treat, such as cancer.

A misdiagnosis wastes precious time that the patient needs to receive treatment. Instead, the doctor may start treatment and procedures for a condition that the patient doesn't have. The patient receives unnecessary treatment, and the condition they have worsens.

Misdiagnosis can also cause other problems involving malpractice, such as surgical errors, prescription errors, and other issues. Doctors need to take every step and precaution necessary to provide patients with proper treatment.

What Legal Options Exist?

Misdiagnosis is medical malpractice. The doctor causes you harm or prevents you from receiving treatment that you need for a condition. As such, you have legal rights available to hold the negligent doctor accountable for any damages you sustain.

Our Corpus Christi medical malpractice attorneys will look at every detail of your situation to determine how the misdiagnosis occurred. We'll explain how dangerous this can be and what you can do to move forward.

With The Edwards Law Firm, we safeguard your rights and best interests every step of the way. You should not tolerate doctor negligence. We'll give you the voice you need to pursue justice.

For more information about your potential case, we encourage you to call our firm at 361-698-7600 today and schedule your free consultation.

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