Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis of illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, or stroke can lead to devastating consequences. If you or a loved one suffered because of a doctor’s misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis, you may be entitled to significant compensation.
At Corsiglia, McMahon & Allard, L.L.P., our attorneys have helped countless families recover compensation for their injuries and losses resulting from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys today if you are interested in pursuing a claim against a negligent medical professional for your injuries.What Causes Errors in Diagnosis?
Diagnostic errors, including misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to diagnose an illness, are common, harmful, and potentially deadly. Diagnosis errors may happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Failure to order the correct tests or test for medical conditions
- Unnecessary delay in reviewing lab or test results
- Incorrect interpretation of lab results, x-rays, or other medical diagnostic tests
- Lost medical records
- Laboratory errors
- Hospital or ER mistakes
Not all cases of misdiagnosis are caused by doctor negligence, but receiving a different diagnosis from your doctor or another doctor later on is a good indicator that you should look into possible malpractice. Our law firm is experienced with a wide range of diagnostic malpractice cases. Some of the most frequently misdiagnosed illnesses include:
- Heart attack
- Serious potential birth injuries
- Lyme disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Pulmonary embolism
- Celiac disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Thyroid disorders
A recent study by Mayo Clinic examined 286 patient records to find out how prevalent diagnostic errors really are. The study evaluated referrals by primary physicians to Mayo Clinic’s Internal Medicine division for a second opinion.
The medical misdiagnosis study shows that the likelihood your condition will be misdiagnosed or missed altogether is much higher than you might think, including:
- 66 percent of patients received a refined or altered diagnosis and new care plan
- 21 percent of patients received a completely new diagnosis
- Only 12 percent of patients’ diagnoses were confirmed as correct
According to the study, diagnostic errors are pervasive and present a substantial risk of serious harm to patients. In addition, the study did not evaluate patients unless they had been referred to another doctor for a second opinion. This means that misdiagnosis is most likely much more common than even statistics show.
Seeking a second opinion, such as through a referral to a specialist, can be a life-saving practice. In many cases, the risks of serious complications from a missed diagnosis far outweigh the costs. If a misdiagnosis, delayed referral, or failure to refer to a specialist caused you to suffer an injury or lose a loved one, our highly sensitive and knowledgeable attorneys can evaluate your case to see if we can help you hold the negligent doctor liable for malpractice.Misdiagnosis Can Lead to the Wrong Treatment
Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and a doctor’s failure to diagnose a condition are not just inconvenient— they can cause serious harm to a patient. Misdiagnosis may lead to:
- Incorrect treatment methods
- Unnecessary treatment
- Unnecessarily aggressive treatment
- No treatment at all
Treating the wrong illness or using the wrong treatments may have devastating effects. Some incorrect treatments can make a condition worse or they may have side effects that should have been avoided. For example, a misdiagnosis of cancer could expose the patient to radiation or chemotherapy. If these aggressive treatments were unnecessary they could needlessly cause significant harmful side effects, such as pain, infections, infertility, or heart or lung problems. Misdiagnosis may also result in unnecessary surgeries which may leave a patient with scarring, disfigurement, loss of a limb, or loss of an organ.
Regardless of the reasons, you should not have to suffer because of a doctor’s negligent mistakes. Our dedicated personal injury attorneys can help you hold your doctor accountable for their failure to treat you with the acceptable standard of care.Misdiagnosis Means the Real Illness Goes Untreated
When a doctor gets a diagnosis wrong, this means that the actual condition or illness may go untreated. In many illnesses, a timely diagnosis can mean the difference between life and death. When a doctor misdiagnoses cancer, early stages can quickly spread into nearby tissues or lymph nodes and then into other parts of your body. Because of this, the lag time between when cancer should have been diagnosed and when it actually is diagnosed can be very serious or even deadly.
Unnecessary, negligent delay in treatment can have grave repercussions for a wide variety of illnesses. Like many cancers, heart disease is an illness that can progress quickly and become deadly if not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. Sometimes doctors fail to order the right tests, refer to a specialist, or even consider heart disease as a possibility simply because of a patient’s age or general appearance of health.
Not all misdiagnoses of heart disease are due to negligence, however. Symptoms of heart disease may overlap with other illnesses and take significant time to narrow down. An experienced malpractice attorney can review the facts of your injury to help you determine if doctor negligence was involved.How Do You Know When a Misdiagnosis is Due to Negligence?
Determining negligence involves a thorough investigation into the facts of the case and comparison of the performance of that doctor to others in the field. In a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis case, it is imperative that you have an experienced medical expert act as a witness to provide testimony. A medical expert may testify to the following:
- The usual standard of care in that type of medical situation
- How the doctor failed to meet that standard and provide the proper course of treatment
- How this resulted in the patient’s injuries or death
Our attorneys routinely work with top experts in the medical profession and have recovered significant verdicts and settlements for our clients. Our legal experience, knowledge of the medical profession, and dedication to our clients have led to a record of success in misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis cases. Whether we are taking additional time interviewing witnesses or staying late at the office to ensure that we have prepared the evidence we need, our firm is dedicated to you and your case until it is resolved. First and foremost, you can expect honesty and candor in the handling of your claim.Seek Legal Guidance When Diagnosis Negligence Causes Injuries
Entering into a legal proceeding can be intimidating. You may have many concerns, such as how long your case will take to be resolved and provide you the financial compensation you need. Our attorneys are dedicated to providing candid advice and realistic expectations. We take the time to answer your questions and remain responsive until your legal matter is sufficiently addressed. Contact us online or call us at (408) 289-1417 to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve clients in San Jose, Santa Clara County, Oakland, San Francisco, and the entire Bay Area.