Misdiagnosing an Illness

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.

Common Misdiagnosis

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 circumstances.

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.

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