Medicine isn’t a perfect science – doctors can examine a patient, run tests and pour over the results, but the diagnosis is ultimately an educated guess. Most of the time, the diagnosis will be correct. Sometimes, wrong medical diagnosis seems to be the doctor fault.
Often, a misdiagnosis isn’t really negligence because the symptoms could have fit more than one disease — it isn’t until later on, when new symptoms reveal themselves, that it’s possible to get a correct diagnosis. Some diseases, like multiple sclerosis and lupus, are even infamous for taking years to diagnose.
Can I Sue a Doctor For Giving me a Wrong Diagnosis?
So when can you sue for a misdiagnosis? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Did the misdiagnosis result from something that was overlooked or ignored?
For example, imagine that you repeatedly told your doctor that you had joint pain and a rash, and the doctor just shrugged off your comments about the joint pain as the normal process of aging and gave you an ointment for the rash. He ignored your family history of psoriasis and overlooked the connection between the two symptoms that could have led to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis until after you suffered severe complications — like damage to your heart valve.
That’s an example of possible negligence. The doctor dismissed your concerns, failed to refer you to an appropriate specialist and probably caused a delay in the effective treatment of your disease. The delay likely caused your condition to worsen unnecessarily.
2. Were you harmed by the wrong treatment?
Sometimes a wrong medical diagnosis and wrong treatment don’t do any good, but they also don’t do any real harm. If the misdiagnosis and wrong treatment causes no recognizable harm, you may have a hard time making a case.
On the other hand, you may have a great case if the treatment made your condition worse. For example, imagine that your doctor diagnoses you with high blood pressure when you’re really just showing a temporarily high reading due to stress and pain. The blood pressure medication causes your blood pressure to fall too low and you end up in the intensive care unit for a week at the hospital.
That could make a good case for negligence. The doctor failed to act with caution and injured you.
If you think you may be the victim of a misdiagnosis, an attorney can review your case and advise you of your options.
Medical Misdiagnosis Cases
Given the facts you provide, you may have a claim for medical malpractice – much will depend upon your symptoms and the details provided by the medical records. But even if you can prove malpractice because of the misdiagnosis, then second consideration is the extent to which you were harmed by the misdiagnosis. If the delay was merely a few days with no permanent injury resulting, then it will be difficult to make a claim sufficient to justify the expense and risks of a lawsuit. Medical malpractice case are very challenging even for the best lawyers, so you should locate an expericienced med mal attorney in New York to discuss your matter. Do so promptly, these claims are typically time sensitive with limitations as to how long you can wait to sue.
The information provided to you in this answer is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation as regards to wrong medical diagnosis if you have further questions.