How to Determine if Misdiagnosis is Medical Malpractice
Posted on behalf of Edwards Law Firm on Jun 26, 2017 in Personal Injury
Medical professionals have a duty to accurately and timely diagnose a patient so that he or she receives the treatment needed to heal.
Misdiagnosing a medical condition, illness or injury can have a disastrous effect on a patient’s health and could cause severe pain and suffering or death. However, it can be difficult to determining whether a misdiagnosis can be considered medical malpractice.
Our experienced Tulsa medical malpractice attorneys understand the legal obligation medical professionals have to their patients and can identify when a misdiagnosis is medical malpractice.
What is a Misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to identify the cause of your illness, injury or medical condition.
Medical professional often misdiagnose patients by:
- Failing to properly communicate with a patient or listen to his or her symptoms
- Failing to screen the patient for certain medical conditions
- Making medication errors
- Misinterpreting lab results
- Failing to refer a patient to a specialist
- Failing to investigate and act upon potential causes of a patient’s symptoms
Medical professionals are obligated to provide their patients with quality care throughout the treatment process, including the diagnostic stage.
If a doctor misdiagnosis a patient because he or she failed to follow standard procedures or neglected to adequately treat a patient, the doctor could be held liable for medical malpractice.
How to Prove a Misdiagnosis is Medical Malpractice
A diagnostic error is not enough to hold a medical professional liable for medical malpractice. Your claim will need to show that the doctor acted negligently in misdiagnosing your condition. This requires proving the following elements of negligence:
To bring a medical malpractice claim, you must have a doctor-patient relationship. This is an agreement made with a medical professional that he or she will diagnose and treat your condition. It is usually established during your first appointment with a doctor when he or she agrees to treat you.
This relationship creates a professional obligation that the doctor must uphold to ensure your health and recovery.
The Doctor was Negligent
The next step will require you to prove your misdiagnosis was caused by the medical professional’s negligence.
To prove negligence, you will need to show the doctor failed in his or her duty to properly diagnose your condition by deviating from the standards held by the medical community. This simply means that the doctor failed to act as others with similar training would have in the same situation.
The Doctor’s Negligence Caused You Harm
Once you have established negligence, you need to show the doctor’s misdiagnosis worsened your health or caused you injury.
This will require you to prove your condition was caused directly by the doctor’s misdiagnosis and would not have occurred under the care of another doctor.
You Suffered Damages
The last step to establishing liability after a misdiagnosis is to show you suffered damages because of the doctor’s faulty care.
This means the misdiagnosis caused you pain and suffering or financial losses because of additional medical bills or lost wages.
Once you have established these elements existed after the medical professional’s misdiagnosis, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim.
Types of Misdiagnosis
There are several ways that a misdiagnosis can be medical malpractice, such as:
- Wrong diagnosis: The doctor incorrectly diagnoses a patient with a medical condition that he or she does not have.
- Missed diagnosis: The doctor fails to diagnose the patient’s medical condition and claims he or she is healthy.
- Delayed diagnosis: The doctor was unable to diagnose the patient within a timely manner.
- Failure to recognize complications: The doctor correctly diagnoses a patient, but fails to identify a complication that could worsen his or her condition.
- Failure to diagnose a related disease: The doctor correctly diagnoses a patient with a disease, but fails to realize that he or she is suffering from another related disease.
- Failure to diagnose an unrelated disease: The doctor correctly diagnoses one disease a patient is suffering from, but fails to diagnose an unrelated second disease.
Oklahoma’s Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice Claims
If you have a valid medical malpractice claim, you have two years to bring the claim against a negligent medical professional, according to Okla. Ann. Tit. 12 § 95.
You must follow this deadline or else you lose your right to pursue damages against the at-fault party. Our Tulsa medical malpractice attorneys will help make sure your claim is properly filed to meet Oklahoma’s statute of limitations.
Contact Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury or worsened condition because of a medical professional’s negligence, contact one of our experienced Tulsa personal injury attorneys for a free consultation.
We will review your claim with no obligation to hire our firm. If we accept your claim, we will perform our services on a contingency fee basis. This means you only have to pay us if we recover compensation for your claim.