Misdiagnosis & Delayed Diagnosis
When you see a medical professional, you expect to receive a prompt and accurate diagnosis of your injury or illness. Diagnosing a condition means identifying its cause, nature, and severity so it can be treated effectively.
Despite the importance of diagnostic accuracy, diagnostic errors negatively affect millions of Americans every year. If you suffered harm due to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you might be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. Contact the dedicated medical malpractice lawyers of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. to learn more about your options in a free case review.
What Constitutes a Misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis is among the most common types of medical errors. A medical misdiagnosis can take the form of an incorrect diagnosis, a delayed diagnosis, or any other failure to recognize symptoms that should point to an underlying cause.
Failing to diagnose a patient’s condition promptly and accurately can have potentially life-changing consequences. Patients may receive unnecessary treatment that has no effect or proves actively harmful. Meanwhile, undiagnosed conditions may go untreated long enough to cause additional health problems.
Why Do Missed or Delayed Diagnoses Occur?
Some of the mistakes that may lead a medical professional to misdiagnose or overlook a condition include:
- Recognition errors – Some physicians misdiagnosis a patient because they fail to recognize a patient’s symptoms or attribute those symptoms to a different condition.
- Communication errors – A misdiagnosis is far more likely to occur when providers rely on confusing, disorganized, or inaccurate patient data.
- Understaffing – When providers lack adequate support staff, they are more prone to misdiagnose patients due to constraints on time and quality of care.
- Defective equipment – Diagnostic testing equipment that is defective due to poor design or inadequate maintenance may contribute to diagnostic errors.
- Testing errors – When lab technicians make simple errors like switching labels or misusing equipment, their diagnostic test results may be unreliable.
Is Misdiagnosis a Type of Medical Malpractice?
A diagnostic error is not automatically considered malpractice, but medical providers may be liable for malpractice in some instances of misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis. Specifically, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim if your provider reached their misdiagnosis because they followed some course of action that did not meet the appropriate medical standards of care. To prove that a provider deviated from the expected standards, you typically need testimony from medical experts.
How Do You Prove a Misdiagnosis Claim?
To prove a misdiagnosis claim, you will need compelling evidence showing that the wrong or missed diagnosis deviated from the expected medical standards and that you were harmed as a result. This requires evidence like:
- Patient medical records – Your official healthcare records have detailed information about your medical history, your present condition, and the care you received before and after the misdiagnosis.
- Expert testimony from other medical professionals – A critical element of a successful misdiagnosis case is that the misdiagnosis caused the harm. Other doctors can provide this necessary context.
- Medical bills and invoices – Bills and invoices from hospitals and other medical facilities can establish a timeline of your care and support your claims for reimbursement of medical expenses.
- Proof of income losses – If you missed time at work due to the misdiagnosis, you could prove the financial harm you suffered by presenting your pay stubs, direct deposit records, or other proof of employment and lost income.
What Steps Should I Take After a Misdiagnosis?
If a misdiagnosis has left you with a preventable injury or illness, you can take the following steps to protect your health and begin your malpractice claim:
- Seek a second opinion from another provider if you suspect a misdiagnosis. A new diagnosis could improve your health and provide additional evidence for a malpractice claim.
- Follow your new provider’s care plan and attend all follow-up appointments.
- Gather evidence to support your claim, such as medical records, hospital bills, photos of visible injuries, and statements from reliable witnesses.
- Contact a trusted medical malpractice attorney in Philadelphia for guidance.
Do I Need a Misdiagnosis Lawyer?
If you or someone close to you is the victim of medical malpractice, working with an experienced attorney is the best way to pursue the compensation you are owed for your losses. You should speak to a medical misdiagnosis lawyer if:
- You suffered preventable injuries due to the misdiagnosis
- Your malpractice injuries forced you to miss time at work
- You have developed permanent injuries due to the malpractice
- You feel uncertain about who is liable for the misdiagnosis
- You face challenges obtaining or preserving case evidence
- Your healthcare provider insists that you contributed to your own injuries
- You have questions or doubts about your legal options
How Long Do I Have to File a Misdiagnosis Lawsuit?
Under Pennsylvania law, you typically have two years from the date when the alleged misdiagnosis occurred to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. If you attempt to sue after the two-year deadline has passed, the court may dismiss your case. The attorneys of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. can help you avoid common errors or oversights that could cost you money.
Why Choose Our Firm?
The medical misdiagnosis attorneys of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. have decades of experience serving victims of medical malpractice and other negligence in Philadelphia. We are deeply familiar with state laws and court systems, and our team is prepared to use our considerable resources and experience to help you pursue the compensation you are owed.
When you work with our firm, you can count on us to develop targeted legal solutions for your needs. We pride ourselves on the skills, experience, and knowledge we can bring to bear on even the most complex cases. Let us put these to work for you.
Contact Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. Today
The Philadelphia attorneys of Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C. provide full-service representation to those harmed by medical diagnostic errors. Contact us today to discuss the details of your misdiagnosis injury claim during a free consultation.