Understanding Diagnosis-related Medical Malpractice
A proper diagnosis is the first step in administering effective medical care. This can also be one of the most complex aspects of a medical professional’s job and is one of the leading sources of medical malpractice allegations in the United States.
There are thousands upon thousands of different types of diseases, disorders, illnesses and injuries that may affect patients today. The World Health Organization identified 12,240 distinguishable disease categories in the world, as of 2007. Although many diseases or disorders can be ruled out during a simple examination, medical professionals should exercise due diligence in determining exactly what medical condition a patient may be experiencing. This may include ordering additional tests or referring the patient to a specialist.
One of the biggest issues in medicine today involves incorrect or delayed diagnoses. According to a report based on information from the National Practitioner Data Bank Public Use Data File, of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one-third of all medical malpractice payouts in 2012 involved diagnosis-related allegations. Nearly $1.18 billion was paid out for diagnosis-related medical malpractice claims that year.
A diagnosis-related claim may stem from allegations that a medical professional failed to provide proper care in diagnosing a patient. If a medical professional makes a mistake, is careless or commits a wrongful act (such as drinking on the job) and thus misdiagnoses or delays in diagnosing a patient, causing the patient harm, that medical professional may be held accountable. The injured patient or family of a deceased patient may file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or other professional they believe is responsible for the failed diagnosis.
A Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis May Prove Deadly
Diagnosis-related cases often involve cancer, namely breast cancer, and heart conditions like heart attacks or strokes. With breast cancer, an accurate and early diagnosis is a patient’s best chance at surviving. Breast cancer actually has a relatively high survival rate if it is diagnosed early enough, and this is one of the reasons that negligent doctors may be held accountable for failing to diagnose the disease in time. Heart attacks and strokes may also be treatable if they are discovered early on.
Whether they occur in situations where patients seek emergency treatment or in cases where signs of a health condition are missed during routine exams, delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses can have serious consequences for patients. A delayed diagnosis may mean that a patient will simply run out of time to receive life-saving treatment. A misdiagnosis may mean that a patient will receive the wrong treatment. An entirely missed diagnosis may mean that a patient will be discharged, only to have his or her condition deteriorate.
At Wendt Law Firm P.C. we represent victims of medical malpractice throughout Kansas City. If you suffered harm or lost a family member because of a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis or failure to diagnose, please do not hesitate to call our offices for a free consultation. We can talk to you about what occurred and can offer insight regarding your legal options. Depending on the case, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills, additional treatment, medical supplies, in-home care, lost earnings and other losses or expenses you have experienced. You can also experience peace of mind in knowing that the at-fault medical professional or facility has been held accountable.
Every case is different, and we cannot guarantee a positive outcome, but we can tell you that our firm works on a contingent fee basis on medical malpractice cases. You pay nothing unless we win your case. And as is evidenced by our case results, we have been able to secure outstanding results for clients in all walks of life through our years in practice. Call a Kansas City lawyer today to get started.