Misdiagnosis Attorney Columbia Maryland
Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to diagnose a medical condition can all have serious repercussions. Most physicians and medical professionals do their best, but sometimes these issues are the result of someone’s negligence.
On its own, the law doesn’t consider a misdiagnosis to be medical malpractice. A medical malpractice case can be made only if the misdiagnosis results in improper medical care, delayed treatment, or no treatment at all; these must then lead to a worsening of the patient’s medical condition. If you or a loved one has suffered, our Columbia medical malpractice lawyers may be able to help.
Misdiagnosis is an umbrella term for many cases involving different forms of errors in diagnosis. These errors include wrong diagnosis, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and failure to recognize complications. When a medical professional makes an error of this magnitude and patients suffer as a result, they may have a claim for medical malpractice against that professional.
Proving a misdiagnosis case is similar to proving other forms of medical malpractice. The person leveling the charges (known as the plaintiff) must prove these things:
- There existed a doctor-patient relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant (the person the plaintiff is accusing).
- The defendant failed to care for (or in this case, diagnose) the patient according to standards of care for his or her profession. This failure is negligence and is the most important part of any medical malpractice case.
- The doctor’s negligence in misdiagnosing the plaintiff caused him or her some injury. Proving negligence actually means the plaintiff’s attorney must prove the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury and make clear the defendant’s legal responsibility for that cause.
- Finally, the plaintiff needs to show some measurable damage resulting from the injury. Measurable damages can be physical pain, loss of work or wages, and mental anguish, among other things.
Proving medical professionals are negligent in a misdiagnosis case requires careful considering of their specific method of “differential diagnosis,” or the way a particular physician diagnoses a patient.
In a differential diagnosis, the doctor first performs a preliminary evaluation of the patient. He or she then makes a list of possible diagnoses based upon probability. Further questioning of the patient, performing tests, and making medical observations increases the likelihood of some diagnoses and removes the likelihood of others. Ideally, the point of differential diagnosis is to come down to a single possible diagnosis. In reality, this rarely happens, and doctors are forced to choose from a few diagnoses of roughly equal probability.
To prove medical malpractice in a case of misdiagnosis, the plaintiff needs to show a doctor in a similar specialty, with similar training, and under the same circumstances would not have made the error in diagnosis that defendant did. Practically, this means proving either that the defendant did not consider the correct diagnosis at all during his or her differential diagnosis procedure, but a reasonably competent doctor would have, or the defendant considered the correct diagnosis but dismissed it due to failure to perform appropriate tests, ask appropriate questions, or find evidence of it some other way.
Columbia Misdiagnosis Attorneys
If you have suffered from an improperly diagnosed medical condition, the misdiagnosis lawyers at Discepolo LLP law firm want to help. We trust doctors with our lives, and we must hold them to reasonable standards of care for the safety of us all. We have over a decade and half of experience resolving many types of medical malpractice cases, including those dealing with misdiagnoses.
We believe your settlement should help you through this difficult time, and you shouldn’t have to continue to worry about medical bills even after a settlement. Contact us today. We have offices in Maryland, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, among other states.