When we go to the doctor, we expect our providers to carefully listen to our concerns and to take our symptoms into full consideration before making a diagnosis. Unfortunately, many doctors rush through appointments without taking the time to fully understand what’s going on. Failing to spend enough time and effort on a patient can be devastating, as the dangers of an inaccurate diagnosis are often severe.
If you suspect that you received an inaccurate diagnosis, seek a second opinion from a different doctor as soon as possible. Explain what happened with your previous doctor and why you believe there may have been a diagnostic error. Afterward, your next step may be to contact a lawyer about filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What Is an Inaccurate Diagnosis?
An inaccurate diagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to correctly identify a patient’s illness or injury. At Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, we primarily see two types of inaccurate diagnoses when dealing with medical malpractice cases: misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses.
Understanding the difference between a misdiagnosis and a missed diagnosis is critical in a medical malpractice lawsuit. Even when doctors make mistakes, it is up to victims and their attorneys to prove what went wrong or risk losing out on important compensation.
A misdiagnosis occurs when a doctor incorrectly identifies an illness or health condition as something else. For example, if an emergency room doctor diagnosed a patient with gastric upset such as heartburn when they were, in fact, suffering a heart attack, it would be a misdiagnosis.
Doctors, specialists, and other health care providers should give careful consideration to how a patient is presenting. If a patient reports symptoms that overlap with multiple health conditions, doctors should perform a more in-depth screening or refer them for additional testing.
When a doctor fails to make any diagnosis despite the presence of symptoms or test results that indicate a health condition, a missed diagnosis has occurred.
A missed diagnosis is often the result of a doctor not taking a patient seriously or ignoring their concerns. If a doctor refuses to consider your symptoms and does not refer you for additional testing or to see a specialist, schedule an appointment with a different doctor for a second opinion. Your health and well-being hinge on your ability to secure an accurate and timely diagnosis.
The Dangers of an Inaccurate Diagnosis
Diagnostic errors are some of the most common medical errors. The frequency with which they occur is not an indication that they are less serious than other types of errors, as the aftermath of even a single diagnostic error can follow a person for a lifetime. There is no excuse for the continued acceptance of misdiagnoses and missed diagnoses in the health care system when the impact can be so severe.
Below are the physical, psychological, and financial dangers of an inaccurate diagnosis.
The victim of a diagnostic error may:
- Undergo incorrect or unnecessary treatments, surgeries, or procedures
- Have a significant delay in receiving the correct treatment
- Be prescribed medication that is contraindicated for their actual condition
You cannot receive the correct treatment for your condition if you have not first received the correct diagnosis. Your condition will likely worsen after being incorrectly diagnosed, either of its own volition, because of a missed diagnosis, or in response to unnecessary treatments and medications as the result of a misdiagnosis.
Before you begin any course of treatment, ask your doctor about the expected timeline for your improvement or recovery. A diagnostic error could be to blame if you do not seem to be progressing as your doctor expected.
There is also an immense amount of psychological damage that goes hand in hand with inaccurate diagnoses. Patients often experience feelings of guilt and shame as their health status does not change despite sticking to prescribed treatment plans. These emotions often turn into internalized blame. Victims may feel as if it is their own fault that they are not recovering as expected.
Someone who has experienced a diagnostic error might also develop a deep mistrust of the medical establishment. Victims of medical malpractice who actively avoid going to the doctor or who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may require the help of a licensed therapist to overcome these damages.
The financial repercussions of an inaccurate diagnosis can be quite extensive. Health care is not cheap in Mississippi, with many patients struggling to afford even the cost of basic care. Victims who have suffered a diagnostic error often have higher-than-average medical bills. At Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, we help medical malpractice victims recover compensation for their financial damages, including:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity due to injury or disability
- In-home services
The above list only touches on the long list of possible damages you may be compensated for in a medical malpractice claim. Your attorney will advise you of all possible compensation for which you are eligible.
What Are My Legal Options After an Inaccurate Diagnosis?
You have the right to pursue legal action against a doctor, health care worker, or medical facility that played a role in your inaccurate diagnosis. The most common course of action is to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. A successful medical malpractice lawsuit will provide full and fair compensation for the damages you have suffered.
Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law Advocates for Medical Malpractice Victims
When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must be prepared to deal with the insurance company. Most medical malpractice insurers do everything within their power to lowball settlements or deny liability altogether.
At Corban Gun, Attorney at Law, your case will always be a priority. We refuse to let the big insurance companies push around the victims we represent, and we always fight for maximum compensation. Schedule your free consultation today to talk with an attorney about your legal rights after an inaccurate diagnosis.
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