Many malpractice lawsuits stem from a case involving misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. These lawsuits are very difficult for a patient to win because the law does not hold doctors legally responsible for all diagnostic errors. Patients have to prove three things in order to successfully win a malpractice lawsuit that involves misdiagnosis.
Patient Must Prove
a doctor-patient relationship existed between the patient and the doctor in question
said doctor acted negligently and did not provide treatment in a competent and skillful manner
the doctor’s negligence caused actual injury or further harm to the patient
The first point is very easy for a person seeking a malpractice lawsuit to prove, while the other two are seemingly more difficult for a person to prove. This is due to the fact that misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis alone are not automatically medical malpractice or negligence. In order to prove such things, a full evaluation of medical records and the diagnostic timeline must be completed by an experienced attorney along with several medical professionals. This evaluation is crucial in the attempted proving of medical malpractice because it will bring to light what the doctor did or did not do when trying to arrive at a diagnosis.
This evaluation must prove that the doctor in question, under other circumstances, would not have misdiagnosed the illness. This can be done in two ways. For example:
the doctor did not include the correct diagnosis in his/her complied list of potential diagnoses’ that they were about to test for
the doctor had the correct diagnosis on their compiled list of potential diagnoses’ but did not test to see if the correct diagnosis was even a possibility
If the test or lab results that a doctor is basing their diagnostic decision off of are incorrect, the doctor is not liable for the misdiagnosis. However, someone else may be liable, such as the lab technician.
If one is able to prove that the doctor acted in a negligent manner, they must then prove that the doctors actions proved further injury to the patient or that the patient’s illness progressed farther than it normally would have. An example of this would be a disease such as cancer progressed to a more severe stage and required more intense treatment, at the fault of the doctors misdiagnosis. Injury can also be considered: stress, anxiety, medical issues, medical bills, or anything else that could possibly come from a doctor misdiagnosing a patient with a severe and expensive to treat illness that they do not infact have.
If you or someone that you know has been misdiagnosed or received a delayed diagnosis and feel as if you suffered enough to consider a medical malpractice lawsuit, contact The Law Offices of W.T. Johnson today! The Law Offices of W.T. Johnson is an experienced personal injury firm that is located in Dallas, Texas. The office can be reached at the toll free number of (800) 738-4046 or the local number of (214) 231-0544. Call today to discuss your case and to set up an appointment!