Medical malpractice can leave patients with serious injuries or even result in death. Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is injured by a doctor or other medical staff who fail to perform their medical duties. A number of doctors’ errors have occurred as a result of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. This can lead to patients receiving incorrect treatment, delayed treatment, no treatment at all, or a patient’s condition can become much worse. While misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can result in negative consequences for the patient, a mistake in diagnosis itself is not enough to prove medical malpractice.
Proving Medical Malpractice
- To claim medical malpractice has occurred, you must be able to prove the following:
- A doctor-patient relationship occurred. You must be able to prove you have a relationship with the physician you are accusing of medical malpractice. Meaning, you hired this doctor and they agreed to be hired.
- The doctor was negligent. You just prove that the doctor was negligent, meaning they were not reasonably skillful and careful. Not being happy with your treatment or results doesn’t mean the doctor was negligent. You must be able to prove that the doctor caused you harm in a way that any other reasonable doctor wouldn’t have.
- The doctor’s negligence caused your injury. You must prove that your injury was a direct result of the doctor’s negligence. This can often be difficult to determine, especially if you were previously diagnosed with an illness or have a previously sustained injury.
When claiming medical malpractice based on diagnosis errors, you must be able to prove the doctor was negligent in your diagnosis. It is possible that a fully trained, skillful doctor made an error in your diagnosis. What must be determined is that the doctor made a competent decision, meaning he/she knew what they did and didn’t do to arrive at their diagnosis.
A patient must also prove that any other doctor practicing the same specialty, and under the same circumstances wouldn’t have made the same misdiagnosis. Basically, a patient must prove one of two things:
1. The doctor didn’t include the correct diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list, when a competent doctor under the same circumstances would have.
2. The doctor included the correct diagnosis on the differential diagnosis list, but failed to perform the correct test or procedure.
Occasionally, the reason for a misdiagnosis is because the doctor received inaccurate results back from a medical lab. This can be due to faulty lab equipment or human error. The doctor may not be liable for medical malpractice in this situation, however, the lab technician could be.
Lastly, the patient must prove that the misdiagnosis harmed them personally, or the delayed diagnosis caused the patient’s injury or condition to progress beyond where it normally would have.
As you can see, medical malpractice is highly regulated with a set of rules, that vary from state to state. If you or your loved one have suffered injury or death due to medical malpractice, contact the attorneys at The Law Offices of WT Johnson for legal assistance. Many states have a statute of limitations on medical malpractice claims. Don’t lose your opportunity to recover compensation for your injuries. Contact us today.