Roberts Wooten & Zimmer LLC
636-481-4088 636-797-2693

Medical malpractice: Misdiagnosis is a common problem

Few people rush straight to the doctor when they aren't feeling well. Instead, they think about their condition and try to figure out what's wrong themselves. When you can't figure it out, then you make an appointment.  If it's serious, you go to the emergency room.

Although not everything is curable, you expect them to know what is wrong and what to do about it. Serious illnesses grow, meaning that time is essential.

Established professional expectations

It's no easy task to identify what's wrong with the human body. There are thousands of possible conditions and many have the same symptoms. That's why doctors are highly educated and highly regulated. There is an established level of service that people expect when they visit a licensed professional, called the standard of care. Imagine going to the doctor and they get it wrong. Your illness might cause serious pain and suffering. You might lose your job. You might lose your life.

Medical misdiagnosis is all too frequent. A new study of insurance claims finds that one-third of all medical malpractice claims are for misdiagnosis. Not only that, but 54 percent of those claims are for "high severity" illness, and 36 percent result in death. The most common misdiagnosis involves cancer, though infection and heart problems also rank highly.

When is misdiagnosis a form of malpractice?

When a doctor gets your diagnosis wrong, you have the right to review the case and make sure they did everything they could to get it right. The standard of care principle asks: did they do what they were supposed to? Like many injury-related lawsuits, negligence is a leading factor. This also includes failure to get a patient's consent for treatment, improper testing or unprofessional behavior.

To prove medical malpractice, a case requires showing that the doctor deviated from accepted practices. While misdiagnosis is a very common claim, proving it in court requires a strong argument that reviews medical practices across the industry as they relate to your situation, illustrating that your treatment didn't meet expected standards and that it caused you or a loved one harm.

Anyone considering a misdiagnosis lawsuit should consult with an experienced attorney to review your case. You are likely recovering from a serious illness or dealing with the pain of an ailing loved one. An attorney will examine your situation so you can tend to your own needs, seeking damages to help offset where you were wronged.

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