Errors in diagnosing medical conditions have been found to be a leading subject for a majority of malpractice suits in the country year after year. If a doctor misdiagnoses the symptoms of a patient or if the diagnosis is unnecessarily delayed, it can significantly impact the results of treatment and cause serious injury to the patient. While medical malpractice claims concerning misdiagnosis are extremely prevalent, they are also very difficult to prove and require the help of a skilled personal injury attorney in San Fernando Valley.
There have been very little studies conducted on misdiagnosis that can quantify just how frequently injuries are due to misdiagnosis or the failure to diagnose. The numbers available, however, estimate that over 10% of medical malpractice claims point to the diagnosis step in their treatment as the cause of their injury. The shocking results also revealed that the conditions that have the highest risk of malpractice are serious medical conditions including heart attack, stroke, breast cancer and meningitis. Most of the cases in this category are cases of misdiagnosis or mistakes in diagnostic testing and these errors can lead to detrimental if not fatal injury to the patient.
Misdiagnosis does not simply have to mean that the doctor diagnosed the wrong condition; it can also refer to issuing a clean bill of health when the patient still had a condition or to a delay in an accurate diagnosis. Generally speaking, any errors in diagnosis can easily lead to the worsening of symptoms or the addition of new symptoms, which require more specialized medical treatment that can quickly add up on the medical bill. These three scenarios, if proven, can be grounds for a successful medical malpractice lawsuit intended to recover compensation for those medical expenses as well as for the unnecessary pain and suffering forced upon the patient because of a doctor's mistake.
In order to prove a malpractice claim for any case, the patient must prove three key elements. The first thing they must be able to demonstrate is the existence of an established relationship between the doctor named in the suit and the patient filing the claim. Furthermore, the patient must show that in the course of this relationship, the doctor failed to exercise the care required of him to the established standard for medical professionals. What this means in simpler terms is that the patient must be able to prove that another doctor of the same level, profession and skill would have diagnosed accurately in the same exact situation and under the same circumstances. This will show that the doctor in named in the suit provided subpar medical treatment to their injured patient.
Lastly, and arguably most importantly, the patient and personal injury attorney must show doubt that the doctor's failure in that area was the direct cause of injury to the patient. This would mean that the doctor was responsible for the patient's injuries and therefore liable to pay the damages concerning increased medical bills, unnecessary pain and sufferance and any other losses caused by the mistake in diagnosing the patient's condition.
While misdiagnosis claims are the most common types of medical malpractice cases, very few are actually successful. This is because proving that the doctor was responsible for the misdiagnosis can be very difficult. Many instances of diagnosis mistakes are traced back to an error in conducting diagnostic tests, a failure by the equipment used or the reading of test results by the technician. While these factors can possibly still provide grounds for medical malpractice suit, the key to a successful malpractice suit is determining the actual culprit.
At The Law Offices of Gerald L. Marcus, we work relentlessly to examine all of the elements to a patient's situation so that we can guide them to sue the person who is actually responsible for the injuries. We believe that medical providers must prove their reliability and we seek to increase the incentive for quality healthcare by bringing aggressive suits against doctors and nurses who behave below the expected standard. If you believe that your injuries were due to a mistake in the diagnosing of your condition, contact a San Fernando Valley personal injury attorney from our office to learn more about how we can help you.