When Does Misdiagnosis Count as Medical Malpractice?

Posted by PKSD Law Firm on Apr 21, 2017 in Medical Negligence

malpractice claim formMedical practitioners must make a correct diagnosis for patients to receive the proper treatment needed to heal and recover.

When a medical practitioner misdiagnosis a patient, it can cause considerable harm that may jeopardize the patient’s life. If the misdiagnosis occurred out of negligence, the practitioner might be liable for medical malpractice.

An experienced medical negligence attorney can help you identify and prove the specific factors needed to bring a medical malpractice claim.

Types of Misdiagnosis Medical Practitioners are Liable for

There are several variations of misdiagnosis that could be considered viable for a medical malpractice claim, such as:

  • Wrong diagnosis: A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor incorrectly diagnoses a patient with a condition he or she does not have. The patient may be treated for a condition he or she does not have, while the real illness or injury is left untreated and worsens.
  • Missed diagnosis: A doctor may examine and dismiss a patient as healthy, when he or she is actually suffering from an illness or condition the doctor failed to diagnose.
  • Delayed diagnosis: A doctor correctly diagnoses a patient, but only after a significantly delayed period of time. This can cause a patient’s condition to worsen or new ones to develop.
  • Failure to recognize complications: This occurs when a doctor correctly diagnoses a patient but fails to identify complications that could worsen the illness or condition.
  • Failure to diagnose a related disease: A doctor might correctly diagnose a patient with a disease but fails to recognize he or she is suffering from another related disease. This could be a disease that often accompanies the primary condition or has a high rate of occurrence in patients with the primary condition.
  • Failure to diagnose an unrelated disease: A doctor might correctly diagnose one disease a patient is suffering, but fail to diagnose an unrelated second disease.

If you are filing a medical malpractice claim after you or someone you love suffered from a diagnostic error, you must meet Wisconsin’s three-year statute of limitation. You cannot file a claim outside of this deadline to pursue damages or seek legal action.

Common Ways Patients are Misdiagnosed

A medical practitioner may misdiagnose a patient by:

  • Failing to screen for a particular medical condition
  • Failing to refer a patient to a specialist
  • Making medication errors
  • Misinterpreting lab results
  • Failing to properly consult with the patient and discuss his or her symptoms
  • Failing to properly follow up and investigate potential causes of reported symptoms

Medical practitioners are obligated to pursue all means to ensure a patient’s health is improved and maintained.

If a misdiagnosis is made by a medical practitioner who fails to follow standard procedures or neglects to listen to a patient’s symptoms, he or she could be liable for the patient’s worsened condition.

When is a False or Delayed Medical Diagnosis Considered Malpractice?

A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is not enough to bring a successful malpractice claim against a medical practitioner. You will need to prove the practitioner was negligent when he or she failed to correctly diagnose you or your loved one.

To do this, you will need to establish that certain elements existed with the practitioner who made the initial diagnosis:

Doctor-Patient Relationship

A doctor agreed to provide the patient with his or her service and made an initial diagnosis. This agreement forms an obligation of duty that legally binds the practitioner to your misdiagnosis.

The Doctor was Negligent

You will need to prove the doctor failed in his or her duty to provide a medical service in a reasonable and effective manner.

The doctor’s care must be similar to the actions others in his or her field with similar training and knowledge would have taken under similar circumstances.

Connection Between Negligence and Injury

The doctor’s misdiagnosis of the illness or condition must have directly affected your health and caused your condition to worsen or suffer new injuries.

You must be able to prove that your injury was caused by the practitioner’s substandard care and is not pre-existing or related to another issue.

The Patient Suffered Actual Damages

The final step to establishing liability after a misdiagnosis is to show you suffered damages under the practitioner’s care.

When filing a claim for compensation, you should state any economic or non-economic damages you incurred during this time. This would include any medical bills and lost wages due to the misdiagnosis, as well as any mental or physical suffering, such as pain or illness caused by a worsened condition.

Our Attorneys can Help Victims of Medical Malpractice

Suffering further damage because of a misdiagnosis made by a medical practitioner who provided substandard care is disheartening.

The medical malpractice attorneys at the Milwaukee personal injury law firm PKSD understand your concerns and may be able to help you take legal action. Contact us for a free, no obligation consultation to determine if your misdiagnosis enables you the right to pursue damages from the negligent medical practitioner. Our services are provided on a contingency fee basis, so you only have to pay us if we reach a fair outcome for your claim.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form if you have suffered from medical negligence.

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