By Jennifer Wilding
A recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) states that approximately 7.4 million emergency department (ED) patients are misdiagnosed each year in U.S. hospitals, and of those, this leads to an estimated 2.6 million people who suffer an adverse event — 370,000 of which are estimated to endure serious harm as a result. This puts the risk of receiving a misdiagnosis at an ED visit at an estimated 1 in 18 chances. This risk makes it more important to be aware of your right to pursue medical malpractice compensation when it comes to a diagnostic error that could forever change your life or the life of a loved one. This post will review conditions that support reaching out to an attorney to help you in the event you, or someone you know, suffer the consequences of a misdiagnosis.
There are five conditions found to be most common when it comes to diagnostic errors resulting in serious complications. These five most misdiagnosed conditions, which account for 39% of this type of harm, are:
• Myocardial Infarction
• Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection
• Spinal Cord Compression/Injury
• Venous Thromboembolism
Other serious conditions that can be misdiagnosed include many types of cancers and infections such as sepsis, meningitis, encephalitis and appendicitis.
A failure to properly diagnosis serious conditions such as these and others can lead to a condition worsening without proper treatment, lead to increased stress and anxiety related to the symptoms, waste precious time and money resources, subject you to unnecessary surgeries, therapies or medicines and, in all of the above cases, even put you at risk of death.
When You May Have a Medical Malpractice Claim for Failure to Properly Diagnose a Condition
You may have a medical malpractice claim if you have suffered harm as a result of misdiagnosis for a serious condition due to a doctor’s failure to do any of the below:
• properly consult you about your symptoms
• evaluate your presenting symptoms
• properly consider your medical history
• order a diagnostic screening or test that would have revealed your true condition
• interpret and x-ray, scan or lab results correctly
To understand if the diagnosis error would qualify, the facts of what occurred need to support that your doctor’s decisions did not meet a standard of care typical of his/her medical peers in assessing and treating your medical condition. You also need to be able to sufficiently prove how their diagnosis error caused you harm.
Proving the Harm of a Wrong Diagnosis
A medical malpractice lawsuit involving a misdiagnosis would center around well-documented pain and suffering related to your medical condition that you would not have otherwise suffered if the same condition had been properly diagnosed by another doctor in the same time frame. This is why a secondary physician’s review of your health status that both confirms the misdiagnosis and documents your health complications directly resulting, is important to obtain.
Meeting the Deadline of Your State’s Time to File
The other factor to consider in relation to a medical malpractice claim involving a medical misdiagnosis, is that your claim can only be pursued within the set statute of limitations for the state where the incident took place. For many states this is two years, but you will want to check your state’s law to be sure of the time you need to file. Sometimes the clock starts from the date of the incident – when your doctor gave you the wrong diagnosis or treatment that caused you harm. In other instances, since you didn’t likely realize there was a wrong diagnosis or treatment until you identified the correct diagnosis or treatment, your statute of limitations clock may begin on the date you discovered this with the same physician or with another medical specialist. This is why documentation is so important for any malpractice or medical negligence claim. Requesting your medical records from all events related to your condition and documenting your treatment experiences are steps that will help you in seek compensation through a claim of this kind.
Consult with an Experienced Attorney
If you believe that you have been the victim of a misdiagnosis which made your health condition worse, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible. Medical malpractice claims can be complex and time-consuming, and it is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side.
If you or someone you love was injured after medical malpractice, reach out quickly to the attorneys at Join Class Actions & Siri & Glimstad LLP for a free consult by filling out this form: Join Class Actions: Medical Malpractice – All States
If you would like to speak with us immediately, text Jen Malainy at 440-381-0338 or email her at email@example.com. Jen has extensive experience both in the legal industry, as well as the medical industry, including working for the world-renowned hospital, Cleveland Clinic Foundation.