While seeking a doctor’s opinion, you expect they will provide you with an accurate and timely diagnosis. Unfortunately, wrongful assessments and medical misdiagnosis are a frequent cause of patient’s suffering injuries or worsened medical conditions throughout Michigan.
However, because every medical professional owes a duty of care to every person they see, you can file a civil lawsuit against a negligent doctor with the help of a Michigan misdiagnosis lawyer. These cases arise from any number of issues and must be thoroughly investigated by an experienced attorney.
Common Illnesses That are Wrongfully Diagnosed
Unfortunately, there are numerous illnesses and conditions that are wrongfully diagnosed. National statistics show that up to 12 million adults in the United States are misdiagnosed every year. This amounts to about 5% of all patients who are evaluated by doctors and hospitals.
The most commonly misdiagnosed conditions include, but are not limited to:
- Heart disease and heart attacks
- Blood clots
- Cerebral aneurysms
- Meningitis, both bacterial and viral
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and blood clots
- Pulmonary embolism
- Bacterial meningitis
- Testicular torsion
- Perforated bowels and colons
- Cauda Equina Syndrome
- Lyme’s Disease
The Duty of Diagnosis for Doctors
While treating patients, doctors must formulate a unique diagnosis of a condition. This is usually based upon the history, physical examination, lab studies, and radiology studies performed on a patient. Furthermore, they must consider the most likely conditions, especially those that are life-threatening, based on each patient’s information.
A doctor or hospital is only negligent when the signs and symptoms presented by the patient would lead a reasonable doctor to make a proper and timely diagnosis. This standard of care is based upon the training, skill, and specialty of the physician. Therefore, the jury must determine whether a reasonable physician would have made the proper diagnosis.
Beyond this, in a lawsuit alleging misdiagnosis, the patient must also prove that a proper and timely diagnosis would result in a better medical outcome. That is, with a proper assessment, the patient could receive appropriate treatment and avoided additional injury or a worsened medical condition.
Because proving fault regarding medical care is so nuanced, expert medical testimony is required to prove this part of a case. A well-versed Michigan misdiagnosis lawyer could help by finding an applicable expert witness and working to gather the information needed to support a claim.
Misdiagnosis of Bone Fractures
In most circumstances, a plain x-ray should normally diagnose a bone fracture. However, many times, an x-ray is never performed because the emergency room doctor or nurse fails to order a radiology study. Other times, the radiologist may misdiagnose the bone fracture on the x-ray study.
Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis of a bone fracture results in significant injury and complications to the patient. When a fracture is wrongfully diagnosed, it is left untreated. As a result, the bone will begin to heal on its own without proper alignment, which is known as nonunion. When a nonunion or delayed union occurs and the bone is not properly aligned, it is often necessary to have surgery to repair the fracture.
However, if the condition been diagnosed and treated initially, it may only need casting in order to properly heal. Therefore, in a claim, it could be shown that, even with surgery, significant damage was done that could otherwise be completely avoided due to a doctor’s wrongful diagnosis.
Wrongful Diagnosis of Cancer
One of the most life-threatening misdiagnoses that can arise is cancer. Unfortunately, the wrongful diagnosis of cancer is common, including a failure to:
- Perform simple and routine tests, such as blood test and radiology studies
- Appropriately document the results of a test, such as failing to document changes indicative of breast cancer following a mammogram
- Properly communicate abnormal lab tests to the patient
- Refer the patient to a specialist for further evaluation
- Accurately read biopsies, ultrasounds, and other studies
Many times, the patient and family are initially relieved to find out that there was no cancer found on a study or biopsy. It is only later that they learn that the negligence of a medical professional resulted in the wrongful diagnosis of their condition.
This might mean that, by the time a proper diagnosis is made, cancer has already progressed to a life-threatening or even fatal point. A tenacious Michigan lawyer could work with a claimant and their family to demonstrate how a misdiagnosis was the root cause of an issue and request full and fair compensation through a civil lawsuit.
Misread Pathology Reports
A pathology report is a document that contains the diagnosis of a patient determined by examining cells and tissues under a microscope. The report is usually created after a biopsy or surgery and includes information about the patient, a description of how cells look under the microscope, and a diagnosis based on these findings. The requesting physician must then read the report and make a proper recommendation. All physicians and medical professionals should be properly trained to read these reports and issue a correct diagnosis.
Patients expect doctors to properly read these pathology reports so that they are diagnosed correctly or in time so that the proper treatment may be implemented. Unfortunately, misread pathology reports or failure to properly read a pathology report can lead to a delay in cancer diagnosis, and therefore delay in treatment. This delay can be a harmful and sometimes fatal combination.
Can I sue for a Medical Misdiagnosis in Michigan?
In order to file a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit, it must first be proven that a condition should have been diagnosed by a physician. Many conditions are difficult to diagnose due to the symptoms and complaints of the patient. However, with a proper medical workup, a doctor should eliminate some conditions to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.
When the medical records, lab results, and radiology studies provide evidence of a misdiagnosis, the next step is to determine if the patient suffered harm. In many cases, there would be the same medical outcome anyways. For example, if an emergency room doctor diagnosed a migraine headache instead of a stroke, it still must be established that the proper diagnosis was treatable with a better result. Our medical experts will review the records to determine the likelihood of a better outcome.
If a medical expert confirms that the medical error resulted in harm that was preventable with proper care, you have a legal basis to sue the doctor or hospital. These cases demand compensation for the losses, both economic and non-economic, resulting from medical negligence. Victims may be entitled to a medical malpractice settlement.
Get Help from a Michigan Misdiagnosis Attorney
If you or a loved one was injured or suffered a worsened medical condition after a medical professional wrongfully diagnosed your symptoms, you should contact a Michigan misdiagnosis lawyer for help. When doctors, nurses, and other care professionals are careless, reckless, or otherwise negligent, they should be held accountable for any resulting damages and losses suffered by a patient.
By filing a civil lawsuit, you can request compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, disability, or any other relevant loss you incurred. There are strict time deadlines for wrong diagnosis lawsuits in Michigan and if you miss a deadline your claim will be lost forever. Generally, there is a two-year statute of limitations but this can be extended in cases involving death and patients who are children at the time of the malpractice.
To begin working on a claim, schedule a no-obligation consultation with a legal professional at Buckfire Law Firm. We will listen to your story, review your records, and let you know if you have a case. We do not charge any money to start your case and we only earn a fee if you receive a settlement check.
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