An estimated 12 million Americans are misdiagnosed each year or 1 out of 20 adult patients. According to an article released by CBS News, previous studies examining the rates of medical misdiagnosis have focused on patients in hospitals but a vast number of patients being misdiagnosed are being treated in outpatient clinics and doctors’ offices.
A doctor’s failure to diagnose or the misdiagnosis of a patient’s illness or injury serves as the basis for many medical malpractice lawsuits. However, diagnostic error alone does not necessarily qualify as medical malpractice. The misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose must result in improper medical care, delayed treatment, or no treatment. Then, resulting in the worsening of the patient’s medical condition.
Proving failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis in a medical malpractice lawsuit:
Doctor-Patient Relationship: The first step in proving failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis is proving that a doctor-patient relationship was established. If a doctor offers advice to another doctor or if the status of the relationship with the patient changes before the injury occurred, there may not be an established relationship to support the claim.
Standard of Care: Standard of care is the next step. This often involves getting an expert opinion. The matter in question is whether or not the doctor performed the type and level of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances that led to the alleged malpractice. If you suspect medical malpractice, consult a medical malpractice lawyer to evaluate your case.
Causation: Lastly, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the doctor’s misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose directly caused the injury or worsening condition than what would have resulted from a correct diagnosis. This is the most challenging element of proving malpractice.
If you have been injured or a loved one has been killed due to medical error, call us at (800) 969-4400 today for a free consultation.