Can You Sue a Doctor for Misdiagnosis?
Quick Answer - Discuss your Case with an Attorney
If you have been misdiagnosed by one of your medical providers and this misdiagnosis has resulted in you suffering further injury as a result, it may have been preventable and this means you may be entitled to bring a medical malpractice claim against them.
Your best option is to contact an attorney who handles medical malpractice cases on a regular basis. They will be able to evaluate your case and will arrange a sit down initial consultation with you to discuss what happened. In this meeting they should be able to get a good feel whether or not your case classes as medical malpractices and they will be able to discuss your options with you.
At Peter Angelos Law, we want legal representation to be available to all victims of medical malpractice. We offer a free initial consultation to any victim who needs their questions answered and their case evaluated and for those who believe they have a case, we work on a no-win-no-fee basis that allows us to take on your case with no upfront cost. We only take our fees from the settlements of cases we have won, if we cannot win your case, you will not be left with a bill or pay us a penny.
Medical Malpractice in Maryland
Medical malpractice cases are more common than you might think and with the extortionate cost of medical attention in the state of Maryalnd, you have the right to be angry if your medical providers have acted negligently.
You should be able to seek medical attention without fear of your medical providers being incompetent, and you should not have to worry that they may give you the wrong diagnosis.
Diagnostic errors can include misdiagnosis, delayed diagnoses and failed diagnosis and in all three cases, if another "reasonable" medical provider would have diagnosed the condition correctly, presented with the same symptoms and circumstances, it may be negligence.
They should prioritize the doctor patient relationship, taking adequate care and paying the right level of attention to their patients.
However, this is not always the case.
If your doctor has failed to act with the due care and attention that you deserve as a patient, or they have deviated from the standard medical practices that they should have been taught to adhere to, any injuries they have caused, could be classed as medical malpractice.
If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you could be entitled to pursue compensation and the recovery of your damages.
What Qualifies as Medical Negligence and Medical Malpractice in Maryland?
Medical malpractice is the term given to an incident where a patient suffers a preventable injury or complication because of the negligence of a medical provider who owed them a duty of care.
Negligent behavior is behavior that is different to how a reasonable, trained medical provider would act in the same circumstances and situation.
Negligent behavior does not have to be an act, it can also be an omission of an act, or a lack of due care and attention.
Examples of what this could look like are:
Negligent act - Administering the wrong medication.
Omission of an act - Failing to monitor for side effects or known risks.
Lack of due care and attention - Failing to monitor your child during a pregnancy.
If you are unsure of whether your incident was due to malpractice, you should contact an attorney immediately. They will be able to investigate your case and evaluate whether or not your injuries were caused by malpractice or not.
How To Prove Medical Malpractice Maryland
There are four important elements of negligence. These elements will each need to be proven by your attorney if your case is heard in front of a courtroom and a Judge. They will also look to prove them to give them strong grounds during the negotiation for a settlement.
Those four elements are:
- As a patient, you were owed a duty of care by your medical providers
- The medical providers that owed you a duty of care, breached it with their actions
- Their actions caused you either physical, emotional, or mental trauma/injury directly
- The result of this breach in the duty of care has resulted in a measurable injury that needed medical treatment and caused you tangible damages
Misdiagnosis/Failed and Delayed Diagnosis
A medical provider should be able to diagnose conditions quickly and accurately when they are presented with the symptoms and problems that the patient is suffering from. When this does not happen, and there is a failed, delayed or misdiagnosis, it means the correct diagnosis is not being given.
A doctor's misdiagnosis can lead to the wrong treatment. This could further aggravate the condition or worse, could lead to a reaction interaction with the condition that could leave the patient with serious injuries or, in the worst-case scenario, could kill them.
When a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition, it can have equally catastrophic consequences. The patient may not receive treatment quickly enough for it to be as effective as it could be, or they may be sent home without treatment altogether, leaving their condition to worsen.
For example, if a doctor diagnoses chronic fatigue syndrome in a patient that has Lupus, then they will miss out on potentially life-saving treatment and their condition will continue to deteriorate.
A competent doctor will provide accurate and timely diagnosis. If you have suffered because this has not been the case, your injuries may have been preventable and you could be entitled to pursue compensation and recover any of the damages that you have suffered.
Other Common Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Over the past 60 years, our law firm has handled numerous cases and devoted much of our professional time to working on behalf of medical malpractice victims. Over this time we have seen most forms of medical malpractice cases.
This experience gives us a clear advantage when it comes to tailoring a strategy that is tailored specifically to your case.
Here are some of the lawsuits we have brought on behalf of our clients:
As a pregnant mother, your medical provider should provide adequate fetal monitoring before you give birth. This allows them to diagnose conditions in a timely manner. If they fail to provide this monitoring and your child is born with a birth defect that could have been detected, it could have been preventable.
Another critical period is during the birth itself. When giving birth, your medical providers should monitor the baby for fetal distress and if it becomes apparent a forced delivery or c-section is necessary, those decisions should be made in a timely manner.
When undergoing surgery, if you have a need for anesthesia, it should be carried out by a trained and competent anesthesiologist. Before any procedure, they should take the time to review the patient's medical records to ensure there will be no allergic reactions or interactions with treatment or previous conditions. They will then create a plan for the right combination of anesthesia.
Anesthesia comes with some inherent risks, but the majority of serious errors are caused by negligence. If you have gone for surgery and suffered due to the negligence of your anesthesiologist, you may be entitled to hold them accountable for any harm you have come to.
There are multiple points during the process where errors can occur. The error may be down to a lack of attention during the pre-op review or it may occur while the patient is undergoing the surgery itself.
Another error may occur when there is an allergic reaction with the anesthesia. This could prove fatal in the most serious cases. Serious interactions with known conditions can also lead to serious injury or death.
Patients could also be left with injuries if they are not moved periodically during surgery, If patients are left for too long, they may be injured as a result, which is why your medical providers should make sure you are moved at the right times.
Undergoing surgery is traumatic enough without patients having to worry whether their anesthesiologist is competent or not and if you have suffered a preventable injury due to their negligence, you should hold them accountable.
Here are the most common anesthesia errors:
- Anesthesia dosage error
- Delayed delivery of anesthesia
- Patient monitoring failures
- Dangerously prolonged sedation
- Failure to recognize and respond to anesthesia complications
- Failure to properly inform a patient of instructions for before, during, or after the procedure
- Faulty equipment
- Shutting off the alarm on the pulse oximeter
- Failure to intubate
- Failure to notice adverse drug interactions
Emergency Room Errors
In order to process the oncoming flow of injured patients, emergency room employees should be trained and competent. They should be able to handle the stress and strain of working in such a highly strung environment. Hospitals should also ensure that their emergency rooms are staffed adequately, as understaffed emergency rooms create an environment where employees are overstressed and more likely to make an error.
If you have been injured and have sought medical attention from the emergency room, and you were left for a long time without being seen, and your injuries were aggravated as a result, you may be entitled to bring a claim against those responsible.
Before surgery is offered to a patient, they should be given the option of exploring any other conservative measures that may be on offer. This means things like physical therapy and medication should be offered before surgery is pushed. Sometimes this is not the case, as surgeons know that they can bill higher for surgery.
If you feel you were pushed into surgery instead of exploring other options, and you have suffered injury or from a known surgical risk, you may be entitled to bring a claim against your surgeon.
Prescription Medication Errors
When you approach your medical provider with an issue, they should make sure they have your full medical history and records before they prescribe any medication. This allows them to check for things like potential allergic reactions and interactions with previous or current conditions.
Before undergoing any round of medication, your doctor should also take the time to sit down and explain what the medication is and what it does. They should explain what the potential risks are, such as side effects and known risks of the medication. Until they have done this, they should not prescribe the medication.
If your medical provider has failed to explain the risks or side effects of a medication before prescribing it, and you have suffered a known risk, this is a serious medical error. The same is true if you have suffered from an allergic reaction or negative interaction.
Failure to Inform Patients of Risks
If you are to undergo surgery or any other medical procedure, your medical providers must obtain full informed consent from you. To do this, they must sit down with the patient and explain all known risks, known side effects and what the procedure entails. Only then can they obtain informed consent.
If this has not happened, and they have not explained the full extent of the procedure or the known risks, and you have suffered a known risk, your consent is invalid and you may have a claim.
Medical Record Errors
It is imperative that your medical providers keep your medical records up to date. This should include all of your past conditions and treatment, and every current treatment. This should be updated immediately after receiving a treatment. These records should also contain important details, such as any allergies.
When medical records are not kept up to date, there is a chance a patient may be given treatment that has a negative interaction with previous conditions or that causes an allergic reaction. In the most serious instances, this could prove fatal, or at the least, cause serious injury.
How to Choose a Good Medical Malpractice Attorney in Maryland
Medical malpractice cases need to be handled by a skilled attorney, with as much experience as possible. These cases are more complex than your average personal injury case and will require additional knowledge and more extensive resources. Medical insurance companies, the ones who represent your medical providers in malpractice cases, will have strong legal teams. These legal teams have a lot of experience in defending their clients and will be a tough opponent for any attorney.
This makes your choice of attorney an important one, which can make the task of choosing an attorney a difficult one, especially for those who have never had the need for legal representation before.
Making the right choice could be the difference in whether you win enough compensation to cover your true costs or not.
If you are unsure of the requisites you should be looking for, here is what we advise you to look for in an attorney:
With the unique factors that come into play with a medical malpractice case, you are going to need an attorney with extensive knowledge in how the laws work surrounding medical malpractice cases. This means you are always better off choosing an attorney who dedicates most of his professional time to fighting medical malpractice and wrongful death cases.
An attorney that works primarily in the medical malpractice space will understand that these cases can take several years and are going to require constant effort and dedication to push through to completion.
Medical malpractice attorneys rarely have medical training, but they should have spent a lot of time familiarizing themselves with the medical industry and they should have a firm grasp of the principles and medical field in general. They should also have access to medical experts who can advise them when their knowledge is not sufficient.
When it comes to fighting medical malpractice cases, the more experience your attorney has the better. You should always strive to pick an attorney who can showcase previous wins in cases that are similar to yours. Medical malpractice attorneys need to be particularly skilled as the insurance companies responsible for defending medical providers are extremely capable.
Historically, payouts for medical malpractice cases have been substantial, and to combat this, the medical insurance companies now hire the best attorneys they can find. These legal teams have the sole job of defending medical providers and they do so every day of the year. They will be prepared and aggressive and will do whatever they can to devalue your claim.
In order to level the playing field and give yourself the best fighting chance against these aggressive legal teams, you will need an attorney with experience, skill and wherever possible, with a known reputation.
The best attorneys in the state are known to the insurance companies and this can provide clients with an advantage. Sometimes the insurance company may decide to settle when they would not have done normally, just because you have an attorney with a reputation for skilled litigation.
For example, Peter Angelos, our founding attorney, is well known for winning the largest settlement in Baltimore history, taking the tobacco giants of the state for an incredible $4.5 billion dollar settlement.
Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Maryland
Following a medical misdiagnosis, incorrect diagnosis or an event where your doctor failed to diagnose your condition in a timely manner, you are bound by the state's statute of limitations. This places a legal time limit on how long you have to bring a valid medical malpractice claim.
This statute protects medical providers from being sued for incidents that happened many years ago.
Under these statutes, you have:
3 years from the date, the malpractice injury or error occurred, or in rare cases where you do not discover the injury until later, the claim you bring will never exceed less than 5 years from the date the injury occurred or 3 years from the date the injury was discovered.
There are other reasons to file as quickly as possible following your incident. When it comes to building the strongest possible case on your behalf, the more time you give your attorney the better. This means they will have more time to investigate, find evidence, calculate your damages and consult with medical experts of their own.
Ultimately, the sooner you get in touch with an attorney after your medical malpractice incident occurred, the better your chances of success.
Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys May be Able to Help
With the complexity of a medical malpractice lawsuit, you need to approach your case with representation from an attorney with as much skill and experience as possible. You deserve to hold your medical providers accountable if they have acted with negligence and you have suffered as a result.
Call us at 410-705-2405.