Is Misdiagnosing an Illness Considered Medical Malpractice?
Many malpractice claims arise from misdiagnosing an illness, diseases or
injury. Some of these misdiagnoses have resulted in further harm or even
death. If you or a loved one has been misdiagnosed by a doctor or medical
professional, you may want to seek the legal counsel of an experiencedWest Virginia medical malpractice attorney.
Contrary to popular belief, a misdiagnosis alone is not enough to file
a lawsuit against your doctor. In order to file a claim, you must prove
the misdiagnosis caused harm to you or your loved one. Read on to find
out what information you need in order to prove your misdiagnosed illness
was medical malpractice.
While every medical malpractice case is different, our
West Virginia personal injury attorneys have compiled a list of the most common misdiagnosed illnesses and conditions
according to a study published by The Internet Journal of Family Practice.
Most misdiagnoses are related in some way to:
Cancer: Specifically colorectal cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer.
Heart Attack: has been misdiagnosed as indigestion or anxiety
Infection: commonly staph infection is misdiagnosed as the flu
Stroke: could be misdiagnosed as migraines or another minor issue especially if
the patient is younger.
Additionally, many misdiagnosis cases occur from a delayed diagnosis or
mismanagement of diagnostic testing. Doctors could have failed to refer
the patient to the proper specialist, or failed to screen the patient
for the proper medical conditions. Doctors could have also failed to follow
up with their patient to investigate further potential applicable symptoms.
Proving Your Misdiagnosis Was Medical Malpractice
When you’re bringing a medical malpractice claim to litigation, you’re
ultimately trying to prove medical negligence. You may be familiar with
the term negligence as the failure to use reasonable care resulting in
damage or injury to another. In Medical Malpractice claims, doctors are
held to a standard of care. If a lawyer is able to identify that the standard
of care was breached, they may be able to prove negligence.
Standard of Care
The simplest way to define the standard of care is to base the physician
practices on that of the average physician in that specialty area of the
case. Meaning, when a lawyer is trying to identify if a physician has
followed the standard of care in a medical malpractice case, they will
review the what the average physician would typically do in comparable
Did the Diagnosis Harm the Patient?
After our West Virginia personal injury attorneys are able to identify
the standard of care has been breached, they then must prove the misdiagnosis
harmed the patient.
Common ways a misdiagnosis can harm the patient include:
- Performing unnecessary surgeries
- Exposing the patient to harmful or aggressive treatments – this commonly
occurs with misdiagnosed chemotherapy patients.
- Increasing the likelihood of death
Statute of Limitations on Medical Malpractice Claims
If you believe you or a loved one has been harmed by the misdiagnosis of
your illness or condition, you should be aware of the statute of limitations
in your state. West Virginia has a
two-year statute of limitations for
medical malpractice cases. What this means for you is that you have two years from the date
of injury or when you should have reasonably discovered the injury to
come forward and file a claim.
At Fitzsimmons Law Firm, we understand the emotional and physical stress
you and your family must be under after falling victim to the negligence
of a trusted physician. Our experienced West Virginia personal injury
lawyers are available to help you today.
Get the justice you deserve—Contact us now.