Can Doctors Be Held Liable For a Misdiagnosis?

While most doctors and medical professionals are credible and correct in their diagnoses, sometimes they make mistakes. Unfortunately, such mistakes can be devastating to patients. A doctor may tell you the lump in your armpit is just fatty tissue, only for you to discover months later that it is cancer. Doctors can blame difficulty breathing on a patient’s obesity, only for undiagnosed asthma to prevail for years. Many of these cases can have life-altering or even fatal consequences for the misdiagnosed patient.

If a trusted medical professional misdiagnosed you and you suffered serious injuries or a worsening condition, you deserve to recover damages for medical care, pain and suffering, and more. A misdiagnosis is a form of medical malpractice, and victims have legal protections in the event of such issues.

Common Types of Misdiagnosis

There are as many potential misdiagnosis situations as there are types of injuries and illnesses. Some common types of misdiagnosis include:

  • Heart attacks (misdiagnosed as indigestion or panic attack)
  • Asthma (misdiagnosed as bronchitis or caused by obesity)
  • Lymph node inflammation (appendicitis)
  • Stroke (a migraine or other minor issue)
  • Misdiagnosed cancer, leading to painful, unnecessary treatments like chemotherapy

Misdiagnosis is usually not malevolent on the part of the hospital, doctor, or stall. They don’t want to misdiagnose patients, but misdiagnosis can occur because of:

  • Misinterpretation of lab results
  • Failure to properly consult a patient about his or her symptoms
  • Failure to screen for certain conditions
  • Failure to follow up and investigate certain symptoms

Filing a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit for Misdiagnosis

Medical malpractice lawsuits follow the same rules as other personal injury lawsuits. To file a successful lawsuit, you will need to prove:

  • A doctor-patient relationship existed between you and the defendant
  • The doctor failed to live up to the standard of care that a similarly trained and an experienced doctor should provide
  • The doctor’s failure to properly diagnose you actually and proximately caused your injuries

You will need an expert medical opinion to assess the standard of care that the doctor provided to you. You must also prove a different doctor with the same background and level of experience would have diagnosed you correctly. Sometimes, a medical condition is just difficult to diagnose correctly. The court wants to remove this possibility by examining how other doctors would have diagnosed you.

You will also need to prove the misdiagnosis caused your injury to worsen and if the doctor provided an accurate diagnosis, you would not be suffering from the same level of harm. Harms caused by misdiagnosis include:

  • Unnecessary and aggressive treatments, such as chemotherapy
  • A more aggressive treatment than you would have been prescribed if you received a correct diagnosis earlier
  • Increased likelihood of death
  • Unnecessary surgeries
  • Increased likelihood of medical complications

If you are successful in your lawsuit, you can recover damages for:

  • Medical expenses, including unnecessary treatment and medication costs
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering

If a doctor misdiagnosed you and you suffered serious injuries or a worsening condition, you deserve fair compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses. If you have a loved one who passed away due to a misdiagnosis, you and your family deserve fair compensation for his or her wrongful death.

The Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers at Dickerson Oxton LLC are here to help. We will work with you to gather as much evidence, testimony, and information to find optimal paths to recover your damages. We are committed to working closely with you every step of the way, handling the litigation process so that you can focus on your recovery.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. If you are unable to travel to our Kansas City or Overland Park offices, we will gladly meet you at your home or hospital room.