It is estimated that 142,000 people died in 2013 all over the world due to the adverse effects of medical treatment. Each year, it is estimated that approximately 98,000 people in the United States die as a result of medical malpractice. According to a new study published in the journal BMJ Quality & Safety, about 12 million adults seeking outpatient medical care are misdiagnosed each year in the nation.
The misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a medical condition, injury or illness is the main cause of medical malpractice lawsuits. When a doctor's error in diagnosis results in delayed treatment, incorrect treatment or no treatment at all, the condition of a patient can become much worse, and it may even lead to death. That being said, a medical malpractice lawsuit cannot be sustained by a diagnostic error alone.
Proving Medical Malpractice Based on Diagnostic Errors
Doctors are not held legally responsible for all diagnostic errors by the law. Instead, patients are usually required to prove three things in order to be successful in a medical malpractice lawsuit that is based on a wrong diagnosis:
· There was a doctor-patient relationship.
· The doctor was negligent - that is, treatment was not provided in a reasonably skillful and competent manner.
· Because the doctor was negligent, the patient suffered actual injury.
In most medical malpractice cases, either the second or third element (or both) plays a crucial role - was the doctor negligent and did that negligence cause harm to the patient?
In a medical malpractice case based on diagnostic error, it is required for the patient to prove that a doctor in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would not have made an error in diagnosing the patient's condition or illness. This means that one of two things will need to be proven:
· The correct diagnosis was not included on the differential diagnosis list by the doctor, and under similar circumstances, a reasonably skillful and competent doctor would have.
· The correct diagnosis was included on the differential diagnosis list, but the doctor failed to perform appropriate tests or seek specialist opinions in order to investigate the diagnosis' viability.
Did the Misdiagnosis Harm the Patient?
The patient is also required to prove that the doctor's negligent misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis caused the progression of the patient's condition or injury beyond normal and that this progression impacted treatment in a negative way.
For example, because of a delayed diagnosis of cancer, a more severe treatment regimen (such as chemotherapy) was required for the patient or the patient died due to the osmosis of the cancer and the disease no longer responded to treatment. Sometimes there can be harm to the patient, even if the condition is still treatable. For example, a delay in treatment with some cancers increases the risk of recurrence.
RMFW Law Knows How to Deliver a Winning Hand
If you or a loved one is harmed due to a New York doctor's misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you should seek the legal representation of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer at Rosenberg, Minc, Falloff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212-344-1000.
We have won millions of dollars for past clients. You too can receive a nice settlement for your damages if your case is viable. Give us a call, we have medical experts to possibly backup your case. We know what a winning case looks like.
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