Failure to Diagnose Most Common Reason for Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical conditions such as cancer, meningitis, diabetes, strokes and infections are serious conditions that can lead to death. However, if they are caught early, they can be managed with medications and other treatments.
Unfortunately, many common diseases are not caught early. They are either misdiagnosed as a different disease or not diagnosed at all. Failure to diagnose a medical condition can lead to many damages, such as increased treatment costs, more medications, amputations, time off work and even death.
In fact, a missed diagnosis is the most common reason for medical malpractice claims. A study that reviewed medical malpractice claims in the United States, Canada, Australia and France found that as many as 63% of claims were for failure to diagnose. Cancer was the most commonly missed diagnosis, particularly breast, lung, colon and skin cancers. Meningitis in children and heart attacks in adults were also common. The most common outcome stemming from this medical malpractice was death.
Heart attacks in women are commonly misdiagnosed because women often do not exhibit the same symptoms as men. While men experience pain in the arm or chest, women tend to have symptoms that mimic gastrointestinal problems and are therefore misdiagnosed with indigestion or even anxiety.
The threat of a failure to diagnose medical malpractice claim can lead some doctors to overtreat. That is, they order unnecessary tests and prescribe medications that are not needed just in case. This can harm a patient as well.
Elements of Failure to Diagnose
Just because your doctor did not accurately diagnose your condition does not automatically mean you have a valid medical malpractice case. There are four elements that must be met:
- A doctor-patient relationship has been established.
- The doctor breached the duty, which is failure to diagnose a medical condition.
- You suffered some harm, such as an injury or worsened medical condition.
- The harm was caused by the failure to diagnose.
You must meet all four of these elements in order to file a claim. For example, you cannot sue your doctor if you did not suffer any harm from the failure to diagnose.
Common Medical Conditions That Are Misdiagnosed
Certain cancers are often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all, as they tend to present common symptoms. Diabetes and meningitis can mimic other conditions. So can allergic reactions and infections. It is not uncommon for strokes and Lyme disease to also go undetected.
Seek Legal Help Today
We expect that doctors will be able to accurately diagnose our medical conditions based on our symptoms. However, some conditions mimic others, and sometimes doctors are negligent and do not perform all the necessary tests to diagnose a certain condition.
If your doctor failed to diagnose your medical condition, and you are now dealing with cancer or some other serious disease, seek legal help. The South Florida failure to diagnose attorneys at Leifer & Ramirez can assess your case and determine if you have a failure to diagnose case. Fill out the online form or call our office at 561-660-9421 to schedule a free consultation.