Whether you are feeling ill or going in for a routine doctor’s visit, when you seek healthcare, you expect to receive high quality care to take care of one of your most valuable assets, your health. You expect your doctor to accurately find out what is wrong with you as soon as possible and tell you what your treatment options are; but this sometimes is not the case. There are times when a doctor may fail to diagnose symptoms properly or recommend a followup exam which could have detected an illness at an earlier stage. In fact, medical misdiagnosis may be one of the most common forms of medical malpractice.
Medical misdiagnosis is a serious problem in medical treatment today. In fact, studies have estimated that approximately 20 percent of fatal illnesses are misdiagnosed. Cancer is at the top of the medical misdiagnosis list of aliments, followed by meningitis, and brain injuries. The consequences of a medical misdiagnosis are often severe. Patients may be treated for illnesses which they do not have and given medications for medical problems they do not possess. Furthermore, medical misdiagnosis can delay treatment for serious illnesses, which if discovered sooner and treated earlier, could have increased the patient’s chances of survival or lessened the evasiveness of the treatment the patient needed to receive.
Medical Misdiagnosis Lawsuits For Malpractice
Under the New York state statute of limitations all actions for medical malpractice must be filed within 30 months of the date of the healthcare provider’s actions from which the medical malpractice injury arose. Although this may seem like an adequate time period, similar to the statute of limitations for other personal injury claims, a patient who is the victim of a medical misdiagnosis may have no way of knowing that medical malpractice has occurred until a second opinion is rendered which contradicts the original medical diagnosis. This second opinion may be rendered months or even a year of more later and the patient may be going through serious medical treatment at the time the lawsuit needs to be filed.
Furthermore, there are times when a medical professional may ignore signs that he or she made a misdiagnosis or try to ‘cover up’ his or her misdiagnosis. In this instance, criminal charges can be filed against the medical professional along with the medical malpractice claim. To prove medical malpractice one must prove the following: there was a duty of care owed to the patient to treat the patient at the standard of care set by the surrounding medical community, the duty of care was breach, the breach of the duty of care was the proximate cause of the patient’s injuries, and the patient suffered damages as a result. To prove criminal malpractice one must also prove that there was repetitive negligent behavior by that specific healthcare provider.
Medical misdiagnosis case settlements vary in range. For medical misdiagnosis of cancer in New York, the settlements tend to range from $1.5 million to $2.5 million for non-fatal cases of misdiagnosis. For misdiagnosis of other ailments, the settlements tend to vary based on the age of the patient involved, and the severity of injury the misdiagnosis caused. Pulvers, Pulvers, & Thompson, LLP recently settled a medical malpractice case for failure to diagnose Afribile Sepsis. The client in that case was awarded a settlement of $1,550,000. The firm also handled a case where a hospital ER failed to make a timely diagnosis of aorta dissectia for $450,000.
Medical Misdiagnosis and Your Personal Injury Options
If you or a loved one are the victim of medical malpractice, it is important to retain the services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. This is because medical malpractice cases are often more complicated than a general medical malpractice case. If the malpractice is the result of a treating physician’s diagnosis, another medical expert will need to be retained who possesses the knowledge and skill to give admissible testimony accepted by the court. Furthermore, the calculation of damages for harm in these cases may be more complicated and call for the presentation of a different type of evidence than in general personal injury cases. Therefore, if you or someone you know has suffered injury as the result of a medical misdiagnosis, it would be wise to consult a medical malpractice attorney to discuss your case.