Man being diagnosed with heart condition; victim of medical malpractice.

When Is A Misdiagnosis The Result Of Malpractice?

Although doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals are not expected to be perfect, some mistakes are simply unreasonable. When these sorts of errors are made, you could have a claim for medical malpractice. One of the most common examples of medical malpractice involves making a misdiagnosis. If your disease or condition was misdiagnosed, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers of Hale & Monico are ready to fight for you.

Most Common Misdiagnosed Conditions

Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses and conditions are:

  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Cancer (breast, cervical, prostate, and many others)
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Infections
  • Meningitis
  • Lyme disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Depression

A misdiagnosis hurts a patient in more ways than one. You may face severe health consequences because a disease is missed, which of course means steep financial expenses. This can also take an emotional toll on you. A patient whose condition was misdiagnosed can expect at least the following:

  • The actual disease or condition will worsen
  • Invasive, dangerous, or life-threatening surgeries and treatments will become necessary
  • Unnecessary treatment for the wrong disease
  • Side effects from medicines prescribed for the wrong disease
  • More medical bills plus time lost from work to be treated
  • The anxiety and stress of worrying about your eventual outcome

For some patients, unfortunately, a misdiagnosis can mean eventual and unnecessary death. Not only does this damage the quality of the patient’s remaining life, but also the family will have to suffer the consequences of losing a loved one. When a misdiagnosis claims a patient’s life, the family may be able to pursue wrongful death claims.

Why does a misdiagnosis happen?

A misdiagnosis can occur for many reasons, including:

  • Mistaking the symptoms of one disease for another. Doctors and nurses read signs and symptoms, but serious diseases are often confused for something more benign.
  • Not ordering necessary tests. A reasonably careful doctor will order tests to determine if a disease or condition you have is more serious. Testing makes it more likely that the doctor will effectively treat the disease.
  • Misinterpreting test results. Test results are only as effective as the doctor or other healthcare professional reading them. If the doctor overlooks something in reading the results, then signs and symptoms of a deadly disease could be overlooked.
  • Overworked and understaffed healthcare facilities. Far too many doctors and nurses are overworked, not supported with adequate staff, and take on more patients than they can reasonably handle.
  • Failing to follow up with patients. After a disease has been diagnosed, your healthcare practitioner should follow up with you later to determine whether the initial diagnosis (and treatment) was accurate.
  • Not referring patients when necessary. If your doctor is not familiar with your disease or has questions about what it actually is, he or she has an obligation to refer you to someone who knows.

A misdiagnosis does not automatically mean malpractice. Proving your case requires showing that the error was unreasonable (negligent) under the circumstances. That’s no easy task. If you or a loved one were injured because of a misdiagnosis, you need the experienced medical malpractice attorneys of Hale & Monico. We will investigate your case and advise you of your legal rights. Call us today for a consultation.