Leading Medical Malpractice Attorney Discusses Misdiagnosed Diseases
A doctor is one of the most esteemed members of any community. After all, he or she is the person who “fixes” whatever hurts or aches, a job that naturally draws admiration. However, many people forget that doctors are human as well, which means their judgement is not always infallible. Indeed, a wrong diagnosis is literally a matter of life and death.
Misdiagnosis is Surprisingly Common
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is surprisingly common. According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, about 1 in 20 patients seeking outpatient care will be given a wrong, delayed, or overlooked diagnosis. In fact, just about all Americans will experience a misdiagnosis at least once in their life. Moreover, these medical slip-ups account for about 10% of patient deaths, the report adds.
A misdiagnosis of major ailments can not only impair one’s quality of life, but it may also lead to death. That’s why courts deem a delayed or wrong diagnosis as a kind of medical negligence. In fact, most medical malpractice lawsuits are filed due to misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a particular medical condition.
Serious Conditions Dismissed as Minor Ailments
Further complicating the issue is the fact that many diseases share common symptoms. As an experienced Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer will attest, even serious conditions can be dismissed as minor Oklahoma City personal injury lawyer ailments.
For instance, the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that certain types of cancer can be misdiagnosed 44% of the time, leading to a serious delay in proper treatment, which can literally spell life and death. Heart attacks, on the other hand, can manifest differently for each victim, with some experiencing classic symptoms such as chest pain, while others experience more general symptoms such as nausea and dizziness.
When a Misdiagnosis Becomes a Lawsuit
Keep in mind, though, that an error in diagnosis alone cannot sustain a medical malpractice lawsuit. The law doesn’t hold doctors legally liable for all diagnostic errors, and those seeking compensation for such errors must first prove three things in court. Other than the existence of a doctor-patient relationship, the court must also establish negligence on the part of the doctor, and that his negligence caused serious and actual injury to a patient.
If you believe that you or someone you know has been a victim of misdiagnosis, contact a trusted Oklahoma medical malpractice attorney immediately. These professionals are well versed with the complex rules on medical malpractice laws, and they can be your biggest ally as you seek compensation for a wrong diagnosis.
Leading Causes of Death, cdc.gov
Malpractice Claims for Delayed Diagnosis – Legal Overview, alllaw.com