Can I Pursue Legal Action If A Misdiagnosis Led to Further Health Problems?
When we seek medical care from our providers, they should always provide a certain standard of care. In fact, they owe us a legal duty to do precisely that. When they fail to do so, and a patient suffers injuries or further health problems as a result, there could be grounds for a medical malpractice case. A medical malpractice case can be brought against any form of healthcare provider, including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and anesthesiologists.
A common example of medical malpractice is when a victim suffers illness or further health complications because their medical providers have misdiagnosed them. A misdiagnosis case can be serious, as the patient may be administered the wrong medication or sent for the wrong procedure. With a misdiagnosis, the patient will also not receive the right treatment for their condition until the diagnosis is discovered.
If you have suffered because of a misdiagnosis, contact an attorney that handles medical misdiagnosis and malpractice cases. They can examine the actions of the medical provider, and with witness testimony, can help to prove that they acted negligently. If, with your attorney's help, you can prove negligence occurred, the medical provider may be liable for your damages and you could recover compensation for your injuries.
Contact Peter Angelos Law Today!
Here at Peter Angelos Law, we handle medical malpractice claims on a daily basis and have done so for over 50 years. Our team is responsible for some of the state's largest victories, recovering billions of dollars in compensation for our clients and helping victims pursue compensation that is rightfully theirs.
Many of our clients come to us asking, "can I pursue legal action if a misdiagnosis led to further health problems?". The answer to this is that it depends on the situation and whether an attorney can prove medical practice in your case. The best option is to undergo a full case evaluation with a skilled attorney.
Call us today to discuss your case at 410-705-2405.
What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical providers owe their patients a duty of care. This is a legal obligation to provide a standard of care in their field. This means adhering to standard medical practices and acting with due care and attention.
When a medical provider deviates from standard medical practices, they are breaching this duty of care, meaning they may have committed medical malpractice. Proving medical malpractice requires evidence that the healthcare provider acted in a way that was grossly substandard from how a reasonable medical provider would have acted.
What is Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is a medical error that occurs when a medical provider makes an incorrect or delayed diagnosis of a patient's condition. This can include failing to diagnose a condition, diagnosing the wrong condition, or diagnosing a condition too late when presented with the patient's symptoms.
Misdiagnosis can be extremely serious as it can lead to delayed or incorrect treatment. As a result, this can have serious consequences on the victim's health. Sometimes, misdiagnosis can lead to the victim's condition worsening, causing more severe symptoms and potentially even death. Misdiagnosis can also lead to unnecessary medical procedures, treatments, and expenses, as well as emotional distress for the patient and their loved ones.
Misdiagnosis can occur when a healthcare provider fails to properly investigate a patient's symptoms or medical history, does not order necessary tests, or does not refer the patient to a specialist.
Can I Sue My Medical Provider for the Wrong Diagnosis?
In order for you to bring a medical malpractice claim against a medical provider, you must be able to prove that they have acted negligently. If they have not acted negligently, and you have suffered injuries that were not preventable, you may not have a case against them.
Here are some situations that may constitute medical malpractice:
Failing to Diagnose You in Time
Failing to diagnose your condition in a timely manner can lead to serious complications, especially if it means that the treatment you should receive is delayed. By the time the condition has been found, the treatment may not be as effective.
A Wrong Diagnosis Leading to Complicated Treatments
Equally serious is when a medical provider misdiagnoses you with the wrong condition. When this happens, you may receive complicated treatments for a separate condition you are not suffering from. At the very best, this will mean a delay in receiving the right treatment, but in more serious cases, the treatment you receive may aggravate your condition.
You can sue your medical provider for these damages if they are a consequence of their incorrect diagnosis, and you can prove that their behavior was grossly substandard from how a reasonable medical provider would have acted.
In some of the most serious cases, a misdiagnosis can lead to the medical provider sending the victim for surgery that they do not need. This could cause irreparable damage, such as having an appendix removed when it was unnecessary.
Factors That Lead to Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis can happen for several reasons, including:
- Inadequate Medical Examination - Failing to conduct a thorough examination or consider a patient's medical history and their relevant symptoms may cause an incorrect diagnosis.
- Communication Errors - Miscommunication between medical providers or between medical providers and patients can lead to errors in interpreting symptoms or test results.
- Reliance on Medical Tests - While diagnostic tests are essential in modern medicine, they are not always foolproof. False positives and negatives can lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary surgeries.
- Confirmation Bias - Providers may become fixated on a particular diagnosis and overlook other possibilities, even when presented with evidence to the contrary.
- Systemic Issues - Factors such as time constraints, workload, and lack of resources can contribute to errors in diagnosis and treatment.
Common Misdiagnoses In a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
There are some conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed by medical providers, often leading to complications and further harm. Here are some of the most serious conditions that are misdiagnosed:
Misdiagnosis of cancer can involve either a failure to diagnose the condition in a timely manner or diagnosing a tumor incorrectly. Diagnosing a malignant tumor as benign can be extremely serious. Both scenarios can cause delayed or inappropriate treatment, significantly impacting the patient's prognosis.
Heart attacks are often mistaken for other conditions, such as indigestion, panic attacks, or muscle pain. Delayed or missed diagnosis of a heart attack can lead to severe complications or even death.
Because the symptoms of a stroke can be subtle and varied, it can lead to misdiagnosis such as migraines, vertigo, or seizures. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can cause serious long-term disabilities or even death.
Serious infections, including staph and sepsis, are often mistaken for other conditions. A delay in diagnosing and treating infections can lead to life-threatening complications, as the infections may not be treated quickly enough.
Conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis have symptoms that can mimic other diseases, making them difficult to diagnose. Misdiagnosing these disorders may lead to inappropriate treatments or delayed management, worsening the patient's condition.
A pulmonary embolism can be mistaken for other respiratory conditions such as pneumonia or asthma, leading to delayed treatment and potentially life-threatening consequences.
Symptoms of appendicitis can be similar to those of other gastrointestinal issues, such as gastroenteritis or ovarian cysts. Misdiagnosis can lead to a ruptured appendix and serious complications.
Meningitis may be misdiagnosed as the flu or other viral infections, leading to delayed treatment and potentially severe complications, including death.
Conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can be difficult to diagnose accurately, leading to inappropriate treatment plans and further psychological distress.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT can be mistaken for muscle strains or other less severe conditions, which can cause life-threatening complications such as pulmonary embolism if left untreated.
What Should You Know About Medical Malpractice Cases?
It is important to understand that in a medical malpractice case, you must establish several key elements. To prove medical malpractice occurred, you will need to prove:
Duty of Care
The victim must prove that a medical provider-patient relationship existed, meaning that the medical provider agreed to treat the patient, and the patient consented to receiving treatment. This means that the medical provider owed the victim a duty of care at the time of the incident, a duty to act in a reasonable manner that protects them from undue harm.
For medical negligence to have occurred, the medical provider must have acted grossly substandard, thus failing to provide the standard of care expected of a competent medical provider in a similar situation. This can include diagnostic errors, incorrect treatment plans, or delayed cancer diagnosis.
Proving causation means establishing the direct link between the medical provider's negligence and the harm suffered. For example, if a medical provider failed to diagnose Lyme disease or chronic fatigue syndrome, resulting in the worsening of the medical condition, the victim must prove that the harm would not have occurred if the correct diagnosis was made.
The victim must show that they have suffered damages because of the medical provider's negligence. These can include physical pain, lost wages, and additional medical treatment expenses.
To sue a medical provider for medical malpractice, the victim must have a valid medical malpractice claim that meets all of these elements. If you are unsure whether you meet these conditions, discuss your case with a medical malpractice attorney that can help you gather the necessary evidence and build a strong medical misdiagnosis case to secure the compensation you deserve.
What Damages Are Recoverable via Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
One of the most important roles that your medical malpractice attorneys will carry out on your behalf is the calculation of the damages you have incurred as a result of the medical malpractice. This will make up the foundation of your settlement negotiations and if your case moves to trial, will be what your attorney uses to fight for your damages.
Your damages are split into two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the quantifiable financial losses incurred by a victim as a result of an injury or negligence. These damages are objectively verifiable and can include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and costs related to rehabilitation or ongoing care.
Economic damages aim to compensate the victim for the financial impact of the harm suffered and restore them to the financial position they would have been in had the injury or negligence not occurred.
Non-economic damages represent the intangible and subjective losses a victim experiences because of an injury or negligence. These damages are more challenging to quantify and can vary significantly between individuals.
Non-economic damages can include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, disfigurement, and loss of companionship or consortium. Non-economic damages aim to compensate the victim for the physical and emotional impact of the harm suffered.
Is There a Statute of Limitations?
In the state of Maryland, there is a statute of limitations that places a time limit on medical malpractice claims. This time limit protects medical providers from historic claims that will be difficult to evidence because of the time that has passed.
That time limit is 3 years from the date the damage to the patient was known about, or 5 years from when the injury was committed, regardless of whether you knew about the injury. If the injuries are discovered later, you will have 3 years from the date of the injury being discovered, but the total period cannot exceed 5 years from the date of the injury.
While this is a long time, the sooner you involve your attorney following the incident, the better, as it will give them more time to work on your case. Medical malpractice lawsuits are notoriously complex and will require a lot of investigation and discussion with medical experts.
How Long After a Medical Procedure Can I Sue a Doctor?
This will depend upon the severity of your injuries. In order for your attorney to truly understand your damages, they will want to wait until the scope of your injuries has been fully understood. This protects you from pursuing compensation that does not fully account for your injuries.
What if My Doctor Did Not Mention Any Potential Risks or Complications? Can I Sue Them Anyway?
If your doctor did not mention any potential risks or complications associated with a treatment or procedure, it could be considered a breach of their duty to inform you and potentially be grounds to sue them.
In a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor has a responsibility to provide patients with sufficient information about their medical condition, treatment options, and potential risks or complications so that they can make informed decisions about their healthcare.
If a competent medical provider failed to inform you about the potential risks or complications of treatment, and you suffered harm as a result, you may have a valid case for medical malpractice. For example, if you had a delayed cancer diagnosis or developed chronic fatigue syndrome because of the doctor's failure to disclose risks, you could potentially sue them.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help assess the validity of your claim.
Contact Peter Angelos Law Today!
To determine whether you have a valid claim, it is essential to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced medical malpractice attorney. If you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice and wish to explore your legal options, contact Peter Angelos Law today.
Our team of dedicated medical malpractice attorneys can help you evaluate your case, gather the necessary evidence, and guide you through the complex legal process.
Protect your rights and seek the compensation you deserve by reaching out to Peter Angelos Law for a free consultation today! Call now at 410-705-2405.