You trust your doctor to accurately diagnose your medical problems and find the right treatment or cure. But when an error occurs, such as failing to determine what is wrong with you or overlooking a critical symptom that could inform an accurate diagnosis, your medical treatment can be ineffective. Worse, medical misdiagnosis and physician error can have significant health consequences and can even be fatal. You may need to call a medical malpractice lawyer.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a medical misdiagnosis, you may be entitled to compensation. Our experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorney will fight to make sure your medical provider is held liable for your injuries. To learn how we can help you, contact Hale & Monico today for a free consultation.
Medical Misdiagnosis in Chicago
Misdiagnosis by a doctor can have severe consequences. The physician or medical facility treating you may be liable for damages.
Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose can happen in one of several ways:
- Not ordering the right tests
- Failing to act on test results or a delay in acting on the results
- Not listening when you explain your symptoms
- Not realizing complications from an underlying condition may be contributing to your symptoms
- Taking too long to diagnose your ailment accurately
However, just because there wasn’t an immediate diagnosis, or if a diagnosis was made and later changed, doesn’t mean there is medical malpractice.
The threshold for medical malpractice is whether a doctor doesn’t provide the level of care and professionalism that other doctors in similar circumstances would. Proving this can be tricky, which is why you need an experienced medical malpractice attorney to pursue your claims.
What Constitutes a Negligent Diagnosis?
A negligent diagnosis occurs when there is a delay in treatment, failure to treat a medical condition, or an improper treatment that causes harm. A doctor owes you a duty of care, and part of that care is identifying the cause of your ailment and addressing it properly.
If they don’t do so, you may have a claim for negligent diagnosis, misdiagnosis, or medical malpractice.
To establish negligence, your medical misdiagnosis lawyer will need to prove that there was carelessness on the part of the doctor that resulted in misdiagnosis and harm. Their actions or lack thereof may be considered negligent if other medical professionals would have acted differently under the same circumstances. Negligence is also determined if the doctor’s activities went against medical training or standard practices.
When Is a Misdiagnosis Considered to Be Medical Malpractice?
A misdiagnosis is only considered medical malpractice if the doctor was negligent or failed to treat you in the manner that most other doctors would have. Suppose misdiagnosis reaches the level where it causes harm to the patient, or the doctor has clearly breached the standard of care expected from a physician.
In that case, your personal injury lawyer can make a claim for medical malpractice. You may be awarded damages for the injuries you suffered, any additional medical care you needed, or pain and suffering.
Common Conditions That Are Misdiagnosed
Common medical conditions that are misdiagnosed include:
- Heart attack or stroke
- Nerve injuries
- Bowel obstruction or perforation
- Blood clots
Cancer, especially, gets frequently misdiagnosed. In these cases, the patient may not get timely care to remove the cancer or prevent it from spreading. If this results in further harm to the patient, it can be grounds for a malpractice claim.
Is a Doctor Liable for Misdiagnosis?
Doctors are responsible for providing a certain standard of care to their patients based on how most other physicians would have treated the patient in similar cases. As a patient, you trust that your doctor will perform their duties and give you the best possible and most applicable care. When they fail to do so and their actions cause harm, the doctor can be held liable for misdiagnosis or malpractice.
Your misdiagnosis claim must meet certain standards, and your attorney will have to demonstrate where the doctor’s errors caused harm and that other doctors would have acted differently.
In many cases, if you suffered injuries due to a misdiagnosis, you may be able to seek compensation from the doctor and the medical facility where you were treated. In order for you to prove malpractice, you’ll have to demonstrate that the mistake caused you direct harm or increased a risk of future harm or injury that you would not have experienced otherwise.
If you and your medical malpractice attorney can show that you meet the required elements for a malpractice case, then you can pursue damages. These might include coverage for medical bills from treating the additional harm caused. You may also have experienced emotional and mental anguish, and you can seek compensation for that as well. Finally, if the misdiagnosis and resulting injuries caused you to miss work, you may be able to seek compensation from lost wages or reduced earning capacity.