Study Finds that One Third of Asthma Patients are Misdiagnosed
A recent study published by JAMA found that asthma, a condition thought to affect approximately 300 million people worldwide, may be overdiagnosed. The study discussed research performed by Dr. Shawn Aaron, a respirologist at The Ottawa Hospital and professor at the University of Ottawa, which followed 613 patients from 10 Canadian cities from 2012 to 2016. All of the individuals who participated in the study were adults who had been diagnosed with asthma within the five years prior to the beginning of the study.
Misdiagnosis can cause a patient to incur unnecessary medical expenses and experience unnecessary limitations. It can also prevent a patient from obtaining the treatment he or she needs for his or her actual condition, sometimes resulting in the severe worsening of the patient’s condition or his or her death. When an incorrect diagnosis could have been prevented if the physician had taken reasonable care to diagnose the patient’s condition more accurately, the patient may seek compensation for his or her resulting damages through a medical malpractice claim.False Diagnosis versus Delayed Diagnosis
There are two ways an act of negligence by a diagnosing physician can harm patients: false diagnoses and delayed diagnoses. A false diagnosis is just that: a diagnosis of a condition other than the one the patient is actually suffering. This can lead to incorrect treatment for the patient, which can be ineffective at best and harmful at worst. A delayed diagnosis, as its name implies, is a diagnosis made long after it reasonably should have been made. A delayed diagnosis can mean a prolonged period of suffering for the patient and in some cases, a limit to his or her treatment options. For example, individuals suffering from cancer have more treatment options and higher survival rates when their condition is diagnosed at an early stage. As a patient’s cancer progresses, his or her treatment options become fewer and fewer, to the point that in some cases, the only option is palliative care.
Sometimes, an incorrect diagnosis can become a delayed diagnosis once the patient’s doctor realizes his or her error and correctly diagnoses the condition.Seeking Compensation for your Damages Through a Medical Malpractice Claim
If you received an incorrect or delayed diagnosis of your condition because of a physician’s error, you could be entitled to receive compensation for your damages through a medical malpractice claim. These damages may include:
- Your medical bills;
- Your lost wages and diminished career opportunities; and
- Your diminished quality of life due to physical or mental trauma.
It is important to remember that not all incorrect and delayed diagnoses are due to acts of negligence.
Sometimes, a patient does not display the symptoms of his or her condition or might display them in an atypical manner. What separates acts of negligence from genuine misdiagnoses is whether a reasonable physician would have taken the same course of action to reach his or her conclusion. A few examples of physician negligence that could potentially result in misdiagnoses include:
- Assuming the patient’s condition because of his or her medical or family history;
- Failing to order the necessary tests to confirm a diagnosis;
- Downplaying a patient’s symptoms or telling the patient that it is all in their head; and
- Failing to seek input from specialists when such input would be crucial to an accurate diagnosis.
An incorrect or delayed diagnosis can result in you suffering from your condition for longer than necessary, potentially causing it to worsen and for the doors to certain treatment options to close. When a misdiagnosis results in tangible economic damages, you may have the right to seek compensation for your damages through a medical malpractice claim. Contact our team of experienced San Jose medical malpractice lawyers at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard, L.L.P. today to set up your initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate member of our firm.