Misdiagnosis of an illness or medical condition can cause a multitude of damages, from additional medical bills to lost wages while receiving treatment, and more. Misdiagnosis is even the leading cause of medical malpractice suits, according to a 2013 study published in BMJ Quality & Safety. If you or a loved one is the victim of a wrong diagnosis, give Ron Meyers & Associates a call now at (360) 459-5600.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Diseases
Any condition or disease has the potential for misdiagnosis when a medical professional provides negligent care. However, there are some conditions that medical professionals may misdiagnose more commonly than others. A Health.com article from September 2014 provided a list of diseases that doctors may misdiagnose.
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Lyme disease
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Cluster headaches
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Other serious conditions that doctors may misdiagnose include heart attack and cancer.
Causes of Misdiagnosis
Doctors should maintain a reasonable standard of care when a patient seeks treatment, and failure to do so – such as not properly evaluating a patient with chest pain – can lead to a misdiagnosis. Some doctors may be overconfident in their initial diagnosis and may not consider alternatives. Some may misread tests, fail to order appropriate tests, or may overlook key signs and symptoms. Miscommunication among healthcare professionals also can lead to misdiagnosis in some cases.
Dangers of Misdiagnosis
A misdiagnosis can be extremely dangerous for a patient. First, a patient who is misdiagnosed may receive medical treatment for a condition that he or she does not have, which can be dangerous. For example, if a patient is wrongly diagnosed with cancer, he or she may undergo chemotherapy, which can have various complications.
The other, more pressing concern of a misdiagnosis is that the patient’s actual condition goes untreated. If a patient has cancer, for example, but the doctor misdiagnoses it as something else, the patient may not receive the proper treatment. The cancer may spread throughout the patient’s body, leading to severe complications and, in some cases, death.
Who’s liable for a misdiagnosis?
If a doctor should have made a proper diagnosis but failed to do so because of a preventable error, such as failing to order a test or interpret blood work properly, then he or she may be liable for any subsequent harm the patient sustains. However, if the misdiagnosis doesn’t cause harm, then the patient cannot file a claim.
A patient can file a medical malpractice suit when a medical professional fails to act with a reasonable standard of care with which another professional would provide care. If you believe that your healthcare provider violated this standard, speak with an attorney about filing a medical malpractice claim.
Washington State Law and Medical Malpractice
In Washington State, an injured person must file a medical malpractice claim within three years of the date of malpractice or within one year of the date of discovery, whichever comes later, per the Revised Code of Washington Section 4.16.350.
Recoverable damages in a medical malpractice case include both economic and noneconomic damages. Injured patients may recover damages related to their medical bills, lost wages while receiving treatment or while recovering from treatment, pain and suffering, and more. A lawyer can review the circumstances and effects of the misdiagnosis to help estimate the damages you may recover.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney at Ron Meyers & Associates
If you or a loved one is the victim of wrong diagnosis that caused you harm, get in touch with the attorneys at Ron Meyers & Associates PLLC. We’ll help you identify and exercise your legal rights. To set up a free case consultation, call us at (360) 459-5600.