Two of the most common forms of medical malpractice are misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis; they are also the most damaging. There are reports that suggest that about 40 percent of medical malpractice cases involve misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis.
According to a 2009 study, which investigated 583 incidents of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis by The Journal of American Medicine, 44 percent of medical errors occurred due to wrong information or steps missed during the procedure to find a diagnosis. 32 percent of diagnosis errors occurred because the lab technician ruled out one conclusion due to a more likely diagnosis of another.
Misdiagnosis occurs when a patient is diagnosed with the wrong illness by the doctor. For example, a doctor might diagnose a muscle strain in a patient's back or chest, when the patient is actually suffering a heart attack. On the other hand, a delayed diagnosis takes place when the diagnosis is correct, but the patient is adversely affected due to a significant delay. As mentioned earlier, delayed diagnoses are a common problem, and they often occur when tests such as colonoscopies lab work or breast imaging studies are not ordered in a timely manner.
There is a close relation between these two forms of medical errors, and there can be cases where a patient suffers from both - a delay in the correct diagnosis is caused by the original misdiagnosis and this in turn forces the patient to undergo unnecessary or additional treatment.
How to Ensure Accountability
In all potential legal actions that stem from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, proving a doctor's negligence is the key factor. When it comes to misdiagnosis, it would be necessary for a patient to prove that a doctor in a similar specialty, under similar circumstances, would not have misdiagnosed the patient's illness or disease. Similarly, in cases of delayed diagnosis, the patient is required to show that a reasonably skilled doctor would have made the diagnosis sooner, and that if an earlier diagnosis was made, it would have prevented harm.
In these cases, a crucial issue is proving the exact harm that was caused by the malpractice - specifically, that the patient was harmed due to the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis above and beyond the inevitable harm that comes with the underlying medical condition. You should seek the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to find out how these issues can be proven in your particular case.
Take the Initiative - Give us a Call
If you or a loved one is in a situation where a misdiagnosis occurred or face a delayed diagnosis, you should contact an experienced and skilled medical malpractice attorney at Rosenberg, Minc, Falloff, & Wolff of RMFW Law at 212-344-1000.
Give us a call. We know how to win cases. What do you have to say? We have won millions of dollars for past clients, you too can be on this stellar list. RMFW Law brings home the bacon!
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