Many diagnostic tools are readily available today; however, the misuse or lack of use of these tools, along with the failure to promptly review AND correctly interpret the results, may narrow the window of opportunity to provide effective treatment.

Thankfully it doesn’t happen often, but sometimes doctors do make mistakes and occasionally they make a wrong diagnosis. Various research studies reveal that an estimated 12 million Americans are affected each year by diagnostic errors, with one in three errors leading to serious patient injuries, including disability or death. Statistics show that up to 80,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled each year due to medical diagnoses that overlook conditions or are incorrect or delayed.

Medical Mistakes Can Be Devastating

Making a medical mistake can be devastating to the patient when errors in diagnosis lead to incorrect treatment or a lack of proper treatment. Medical malpractice claims frequently result from the misdiagnosis of a medical condition, or from a delay in the correct diagnosis that leads to further injury. When this happens, a patient’s condition can worsen drastically, even leading to death. Sometimes a misdiagnosis happens when a medical provider treats a patient for a condition that does not actually exist in that patient.

Misdiagnosis Cases Can Include:

  • Delayed diagnosis of cancer
  • Delayed diagnosis of stroke
  • Misdiagnosis of infection
  • Misdiagnosis of joint problem
  • Misdiagnosis of spine problem

The Role of Diagnostic Testing

Many highly efficient diagnostic tests are available to healthcare providers these days, however, the misuse of or failure to use these tools, along with the failure to correctly interpret the results, may negatively impact effective and timely treatment. On the other hand, when doctors rely on laboratory tests, radiology, and other diagnostic tools to provide answers, but a technician incorrectly performed a test or has reported a result leading to misdiagnosis, the technician may be at fault.

Not All Misdiagnosis is Malpractice

Clearly, not every case of misdiagnosis results in medical malpractice – as different conditions can present with similar signs and symptoms. There are situations in which competent, experienced doctors, following a line of reasonable care still make errors in diagnosis. The determination depends on whether the doctor acted competently; and whether their method for arriving at the diagnosis was reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. If for some reason, reasonable care and judgment was not exercised, and the patient was harmed as a result, the doctor has likely committed malpractice.

When You Need Help

If you suspect that someone was negligent in conducting tests or reviewing results you deserve to know what happened and if you have a case. Dr. Sawyer will review your case and share everything he uncovers with you so that you have a clear picture of the situation. If we agree to represent you, be assured that we will invest the necessary resources to present a powerful and persuasive case on your behalf. These reviews can be very expensive, but we pay all of those costs. We only claim reimbursement for attorney’s fees if we succeed in your case. If we decline your case, or do not succeed, you will not be required to pay those costs.

Article sources: Researchers identify health conditions likely to be misdiagnosed

Why Getting Medically Misdiagnosed Is More Common Than You May Think