In 2014, it was estimated that 12 million Americans were the victims of a medical misdiagnosis. Sometimes, through negligence, doctors diagnose the wrong condition. Other times, they fail to diagnose any condition at all when the patient clearly suffers from a serious illness. Failure to properly diagnose a condition can result in treatment that is ineffective at best and harmful at worst, or it can result in an undiagnosed condition causing harm that could have otherwise been avoided. Any injuries sustained as a result of a misdiagnosis can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions
Different types of cancer are among the most misdiagnosed conditions. These include melanoma, breast cancer and lymphoma, though other, more rare cancers can also go undiagnosed. Other commonly misdiagnosed conditions include heart attacks and strokes, but virtually any condition may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed if medical professionals are negligent in the performance of their duties.
The Effects of a Misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis takes two forms. Either the physician tells the patient that he or she suffers from a condition that they don’t actually have or, or the doctor fails to diagnose a condition that any competent medical provider should have discovered.
A misdiagnosis can mean months of unnecessary, painful, and expensive treatments. For example, someone misdiagnosed with cancer may be forced to undergo chemotherapy that will do nothing to improve their health, or they can no longer have life saving surgery because their conditions has progressed further due to the delay in disagnosis.
Often heart attacks and heart disease go undetected because physicians do not properly perform the proper tests and scans to determine the nature of a condition. This malpractice by omission can result in a more serious condition developing, or even death.
In order to establish malpractice in a misdiagnosis case, patients generally must show three things. First, there must have been a patient-doctor relationship between the individual and the physician. Second, the patient must prove that the doctor acted negligently, that is say that he or she didn’t act with the proper standard of care to make a diagnosis. Finally, the patient must show that the doctor’s negligent diagnosis actually caused him or her injury.
Misdiagnosis cases are complicated, fact-intensive cases. If you believe you have been injured as a result of a medical misdiagnosis by a negligent physician, you should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.
Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for a Misdiagnosis
If you have been injured as the result of a misdiagnosis, the medical malpractice attorneys at SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC in Rolling Meadows may be able to help you file a lawsuit in the state of Illinois.