Does Misdiagnosis Merit a Medical Malpractice Suit?
There is a big difference between an honest mistake and negligent behavior. Though entrusted with the responsibility to provide accurate, quality healthcare and medical analysis, doctors and nurses are still human and can be prone to occasional error. If a doctor makes a small blunder that doesn’t have calculable adverse effects on a patient or a patient is simply unhappy with the results of treatment, this doesn’t necessarily constitute medical malpractice, nor does it typically warrant a lawsuit. However, when a medical professional’s error significantly harms a patient or is the result of careless, irresponsible behavior, they may be open to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Misdiagnosis and Medical Malpractice
Misdiagnosis is one such case in which a patient may experience harmful negative effects due to sheer accident or outright negligence. Depending on its effects on the patient and the reason behind it, misdiagnosis may warrant a medical malpractice lawsuit. If a doctor fails to accurately diagnose a serious condition within a normal or reasonable amount of time (or at all), it can result in avoidable death and suffering.
Effects of Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
Take breast cancer as an example. After a cursory review of its symptoms, it is commonly misdiagnosed as fibroadenoma, mastitis, and other conditions that tend to produce similar physical signs. If a patient with breast cancer is diagnosed with a different condition and undergoes treatment for the wrong illness, the cancer can continue to metastasize and move from the breast(s) to the patient’s glands, organs, and other vital body parts which, if compromised, can result in death. Time is of the essence when it comes to treating serious, degenerative diseases like cancer, and a delay of even a few weeks can leave patients with a bleak prognosis by the time the pathological culprit is identified. When the opportunity for early treatment has passed because of a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, medical professionals may be held responsible for the consequences of their mistake or negligence.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice
The occurrence of delayed or inaccurate diagnosis does not necessarily constitute medical malpractice because it isn’t conclusive evidence of negligence or recklessness (at least not by itself). A late or incorrect diagnosis could very well be the result of a doctor’s failure to give due diligence and follow proper procedures, but this must be cemented by actual proof of negligence.
How to Know if Your Doctor Behaved Negligently
In order to have a case for medical malpractice, there must be evidence that your doctor provided sub-par medical service when treating and diagnosing you. After you secure legal counsel, your medical malpractice attorney will investigate your doctor’s methodology when diagnosing your condition. Your lawyer will consider whether you have experienced real harm because of the misdiagnosis, how long another specialist would normally take to arrive at the correct diagnosis, whether errors in diagnostic tests led the doctor to draw inaccurate conclusions, and more.
Get in Touch with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Tulsa
In short, the best way to figure out if your misdiagnosis or late diagnosis is a result of medical malpractice is to consult with an attorney. If you have experienced unnecessary suffering because of a doctor’s or nurse’s mistake, we can help. Our legal team at Saint & Watzke, PLLP has served many people in situations like yours over the years and have successfully held medical professionals responsible for their actions toward patients.
Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation or call (918) 721-0998 to speak to a member of our team.