After being misdiagnosed, the first question is can I sue a doctor for the wrong diagnosis? Well, yes. But you need to know when and how. The Planet Today, now helps you look into legal matters over suing a doctor in case of a wrong diagnosis.
Can you sue a doctor for wrong diagnosis?
Can you sue a doctor for a wrong diagnosis? A wrong diagnosis that causes illness or injury is known as Misdiagnosis. While in legal terms we call it medical malpractice. While filing a case, you would be considered under personal injury law. These are civil laws, not criminal. However, medical malpractice leading to death is a criminal case (in case of serious misdiagnosis)
What do you mean by Misdiagnosis?
The term misdiagnosis means that the doctor was not able to diagnose your disease/ reason of illness and started the wrong treatment. It can also be that the doctor read your reports improperly or comprehended them wrongly.
For instance, a doctor was sued as he did not discover the tumor which was visible in the CT scan and diagnosed it with some other diseases.
A Misdiagnosis is when your medical condition worsens. For instance, misdiagnosis and wrong treatment causes a heart attack or effects an organ.
Or delay of correct treatment is misdiagnosis. Pain in the stomach was misdiagnosed as kidney stone, it was appendix pain!
Can lead to wrongful death!
Any medical act that violates the medical standards of care is Misdiagnosis. It may cause illness, pain, deteriorating health, lifetime health challenges, or even the death of a loved one. In all such cases, you can sue a doctor!
What are the most common types of Misdiagnoses in medical history?
We cannot always blame the doctor, in some cases, there is a visible fault of the doctor. Yet, in other cases, there are some challenges in diagnosis. These can be overlapping and similar symptoms. While an average doctor has a 95% success rate in diagnosis, 1 in 20 patients can be misdiagnosed.
The most common wrong diagnoses are for following:
- Asthama attack for bronchitis/allergy
- heart attack for gut issues and panic attack
- Lupus for fatigue
- Lyme for flu and depression
Signs of Misdiagnosis
The signs of Misdiagnosis are:
- Not feeling better with treatment, rather feeling worse
- Feeling irritation, and pain in other organs since treatment has started.
- Feeling that medication is not suiting you
How can I prevent a Misdiagnosis?
Certain tips and tricks can actually help you escape a misdiagnosis. These are:
- self-check: If the treatment is not causing any improvement in health
- Asking questions to doctor if you feel even worse than before
- getting reports and prescriptions checked by another doctor/taking advice from some other doctor
- Going to a specialist
- those things which are ambiguous, make them clear
- make research on your diagnosis and see if it’s true
What to do if I am misdiagnosed? Can you sue a doctor for wrong diagnosis?
While your health is important and you should look after yourself once your true diagnosis has been made. But we recommend a case against a doctor so that he would be careful during his next diagnosis. Sometimes, the misdiagnosis is because of certain factors such as an uncooperative doctor, a doctor who does not take his patients seriously, and who did not listen to you carefully. Sometimes, the case is simple, yet because of the negligence of a doctor, it got complicated.
If you are misdiagnosed, it has caused money and a health crisis, you can sue your doctor. You can sue a doctor if there had been a doctor-patient relationship, the doctor had misdiagnosed the disease and had wrongly treated you.
How to sue the doctor who misdiagnosed me?
Learn state laws on suing a doctor in your country
First, you need to have legal advice on the matter. Remember that even though about 60% of the deaths in patients are caused by malpractices in the US by doctors, only a few are able to win cases against the doctors. The laws are strict and you need to have strong evidence to win the case. thus, study laws on suing doctors for malpractices and misdiagnosis. In some countries like the US, doctors have high rights reserved in case of emergencies, in case of complicated diseases, and in case of people with multiple diseases. This causes the failure of more than 82% of cases against doctors each year!
Bear the cost!
Bear in mind, that even though you may have a strong case against the doctor, you may as well have to bear a considerable cost. The cases in developed countries can take more than a year to 3 years! Thus, it is an effort putting the work!
Hire an attorney/Medical misdiagnosis lawyer
You will have to hire a medical malpractice lawyer/attorney. You cannot simply put up your case by yourself. In such a case, the chances of winning are thin. They shall guide you on the case and will not others exploit you. In many cases, the medical insurance companies are exploitative. the lawyer will make sure that your rights are well protected.
You can hire a general lawyer, but an experienced malpractice lawyer will help take better legal steps. he will make sure that monetary damages are minimum. He can take up the case efficiently and professionally.
But then, it would depend upon the budget!
Pre-requisites of Misdiagnosis case
Suing a doctor for misdiagnosis requires the following. If these characteristics are missing in the case, your case won’t be taken up:
- Doctor-patient relation: You have to prove that you had a doctor-patient relationship. If there was no relation, then he cannot be sued.
- Breach of duty; did the doctor breach his duty? You need to show that the doctor has not only misdiagnosed you but that any other relevant doctor could have e diagnosed the disease, You have to prove the misdiagnosis and his breach of duty.
- Cause of harm: you need to show that the misdiagnosis caused harm. even if the doctor had misdiagnosed the patient, if he died in a road accident then you cannot sue the doctor. For instance, a patient with blood cancer was misdiagnosed with lung cancer. However, his diagnosis was made by another doctor when he was admitted after he met an accident. he could not sue him, as he did not cause the accident!
- Damages: you have to prove damages. Even in the case of death, you have to prove that the death has been caused by a misdiagnosis. and that no other factor was relevant.