Under the umbrella category of personal injury cases lies what’s called medical malpractice. We go to doctors and medical professionals for quality care and to receive the correct diagnoses, but unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. It is possible that these medical professionals can make mistakes and cause further injury to their patients, which will cause a misdiagnosis lawsuit.
It is for this reason that the law has developed rules and procedures to prove liability when a patient is injured by their medical caretaker, and this is what is known as medical malpractice.
This begs the question: is it considered malpractice if a doctor has misdiagnosed your illness? Furthermore, can you pursue a misdiagnosis lawsuit if you were misdiagnosed? In this article, we discuss common types of malpractice and whether or not you will have a case to pursue if your doctor misdiagnoses you.
What Exactly is a Misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis of your injury or sickness means your doctor either incorrectly guessed or read your test results wrong and caused one or more of the following:
- Worsened medical condition
- Delayed correct diagnosis (for example, you presented with symptoms of kidney issues so you were treated for such only for the real cause discovered to be appendicitis and have treatment switched)
- Further injury or death
Most of the time, doctors are successful in diagnosing their patients properly, but mistakes do happen, which may cause a patient’s condition to worsen or undergo unnecessary medical treatment. Some of the most common misdiagnoses include:
- Asthma – misdiagnosed as recurring bronchitis
- Heart attack – misdiagnosed as indigestion or a panic attack
- Lyme disease – misdiagnosed as the flu or mononucleosis
- Parkinson’s – misdiagnosed as Alzheimer’s, stroke, or stress
- Lupus – Misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis
When Is a Misdiagnosis Considered Malpractice?
In order to win a misdiagnosis lawsuit, you must prove that the medical provider was negligent. In order to achieve this, you must prove the following:
- Duty of care – You must be able to prove that you and the doctor who misdiagnosed you had an established doctor-patient relationship. The misdiagnosis must come from your doctor during a formal medical visit and not from anyone else merely speculating what your illness may be.
- Breach – Once a doctor-patient relationship has been proven, you will need to prove that the doctor breached their duty of care by failing to take the necessary steps to provide an accurate diagnosis.
- Injury – This is where you must prove your injury was suffered due to the misdiagnosis of your doctor. This may mean that you need to prove your ailment did not improve after the doctor’s visit or that it even worsened.
- Cause – Your injury must be directly caused by the doctor’s failure to successfully diagnose you. You cannot sue a doctor for failing to notice other ailments that are not related to what you were seeking treatment for.
What Can You Do To Avoid a Misdiagnosis?
We typically trust doctors to do their job successfully, but mistakes happen to everyone, including doctors. To reduce your chances of being misdiagnosed, do the following:
- Ask questions if you are not improving
- Ask for a second opinion
- Write down anything you do not understand like notes, directions, or medical terms
- Ask for other possible diagnoses so you can switch treatment if you need to
- Ask for recommendations on other doctors
- Make an appointment with a specialist
Contact an Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Medical malpractice cases are tough to navigate alone, and it can be awkward to sue a doctor you have known for a long time if they were negligent and caused you harm. Don’t go at it alone, let us help you so you can focus on recovery.
If you are suffering from an injury and need help determining whether or not you have a malpractice case, Crossen Law Firm is here for you. Our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers are equipped with the knowledge and resources to help you with your claim and advocate for your best interest.