Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney
San Antonio Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney
Unfortunately, modern medicine isn’t as perfect as we would like it to be. Even minor medical mistakes can result in serious injury and wrongful death. This leaves victims (or their family members) to endure a life of grief and never ending medical expenses. If you or a loved one has endured a situation like this, you need to file a personal injury claim with a medical misdiagnosis attorney at Janicek Law. Our law firm has decades of experience in fighting for the justice of those who’ve suffered at the hands of negligent doctors. Although it sounds stressful, a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit can give you and your family the closure and compensation you deserve. Call us today at 210-366-4949 for a free consultation.
What is Medical Misdiagnosis?
Medical misdiagnosis falls under the large umbrella of personal injury law and medical malpractice. Basically, medical misdiagnosis occurs when a physician fails to provide their patient with the correct diagnosis. As a result, their patient may suffer major illnesses or injuries because they either received no medical treatment or incorrect medical treatment. Tragically, some diagnostic errors result in wrongful death.
Types of Medical Misdiagnosis
There are many different types of misdiagnosis, all of which can cause serious illness or injury.
Incorrect diagnosis is just how it sounds: a doctor provided the wrong diagnosis to their patient. As a result, maybe the patient didn’t receive the proper treatment for their medical condition, or maybe they were told to take the wrong medications.
The doctor failed to diagnose the patient with any medical condition. In other words, they told the patient that they were completely healthy and sent them home. Failure to diagnose patients with any condition at all often results in the patient’s health rapidly deteriorating until they’re forced to see another doctor for proper treatment.
The medical provider provides the correct diagnosis, but it takes them a long time to do so. Many patients who experience delayed diagnoses suffer horribly for months (or even years) before they receive proper medical care for their underlying condition.
All of the aforementioned medical misdiagnoses violate the medical standard of care that all medical providers should follow. If your doctor makes your illness or injury worse, contact a San Antonio medical misdiagnosis attorney today for a free case review.
How Do Diagnostic Errors Happen?
Medical mistakes, such as misdiagnosis, happen due to a variety of reasons. In fact, a study claims that the most common cause of diagnostic errors are knowledge-based failures and information transfer failures. In other words, doctors didn’t have enough knowledge about a specific medical condition, they used their knowledge incorrectly, or they didn’t receive a patient’s updated medical records in order to help them provide an accurate diagnosis. Other common causes of misdiagnosis include:
- Ordering the wrong medical tests
- Inability to accurately assess test results or scans
- Incorrect test results either due to malfunctioning equipment or human error
- General lack of knowledge and inexperience
- Failure to follow up with a patient through more appointments or tests
- A patient fails to describe their symptoms accurately or they leave out important pieces to their health story
How Often Does Medical Misdiagnosis Occur in the U.S.?
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis cases occur every day in the United States. According to a 2013 Johns Hopkins study, approximately 80,000 to 160,000 injuries and deaths occurred annually due to diagnostic errors between 1986 and 2010. So misdiagnosis caused approximately 1,920,000 to 3,840,000 injuries and deaths in only 24 years. Some medical professionals even claim that diagnostic errors are the biggest medical malpractice problem in the U.S.
Common Misdiagnosed Illnesses
According to a 2022 study from JAMA Network Open, the most common misdiagnosed illnesses and diseases in the U.S. (in order from most common to least common) are:
- Colorectal cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Heart attack
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Pulmonary embolism
- Brain hemorrhage
Additionally, the same study claims that the majority (59%) of these medical misdiagnoses occurred due to errors and misinterpretations of diagnostic tests.
How to Prove Medical Misdiagnosis
Filing a medical malpractice case is certainly easier than proving that medical malpractice occurred. That’s why medical malpractice cases are so complex. In many cases, it’s difficult to prove what actually happened because so many variables are involved. Luckily for you, the legal team at Janicek Law has years of experience in successfully litigating medical malpractice claims. We know exactly how to prove that medical negligence occurred.
Because medical misdiagnosis cases are based on the legal theory of negligence, injured victims must prove that the following elements of negligence occurred.
- Duty of Care: Every medical professional owes their patients a certain duty of care. In other words, they must act like a competent doctor and provide the best possible medical care for all their patients.
- Breached Duty of Care: The doctor breached this duty of care by committing a major medical error, such as misdiagnosis.
- Causation: The patient suffered serious injuries or death due to the doctor’s negligence.
- Damages: Monetary compensation could help the injured client pay for the medical and rehabilitative bills associated with their misdiagnosis claim.
Next, you need to gather evidence to support your claim and prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed. Strong evidence includes medical records, medication history, witness statements, pictures/videos of your symptoms or health condition, etc. An experienced misdiagnosis attorney at Janicek Law can help you gather sufficient evidence to prove that medical negligence occurred.
Another way to prove a missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnosis is to study your doctor’s differential diagnosis method.
Differential diagnosis is a method that many medical professionals use to correctly diagnose their patients. This is how it works. When a doctor listens to a patient’s symptoms, they’ll make a list of the most probable medical conditions that the patient could be suffering from. They will test each of the conditions on the list by asking questions about medical history, ordering proper tests and scans, conducting physical examinations, etc.
After each round of tests, the health care provider will remove a potential diagnosis from their list until they’re left with one or two possible diagnoses. Hopefully, at least one of the remaining diagnoses fits the patient’s symptoms and test results. At this point, the doctor will use their best judgment to diagnose the patient, or they will send the patient to another doctor for a second opinion.
In a medical malpractice case, our legal team will hire a medical professional with extensive training in your medical specialty to examine your doctor’s differential diagnosis method. If your doctor failed to list your underlying condition (when they obviously should have) or they listed your condition but failed to order proper medical tests to rule it out, they can face a medical negligence charge.
Types of Damages for Medical Misdiagnosis
Patients who have suffered extensive health complications or death due to medical negligence deserve maximum financial recovery. The legal team at Janicek Law can help you recover the damages listed below.
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future rehabilitation bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Counseling expenses, especially if you’ve suffered PTSD related to your medical trauma
- Funeral and burial expenses, if the patient dies as a result of misdiagnosis
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment in life
Average Settlement Amount for Medical Negligence
According to a 2017 JAMA study, the average payout for medical malpractice cases in the U.S. is $329,565. It’s important to note, though, that many states have compensation caps for cases like this. According to Texas law, there are only caps for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include things like pain and suffering or emotional anguish. These caps are:
- $250,000 per victim in cases against only one negligent doctor.
- $250,000 per victim in cases against only one negligent health care center, such as a hospital.
- $500,000 per victim in cases against multiple negligent health care centers.
Texas Statute of Limitations for Medical Misdiagnosis
In Texas, injured patients (or their family members) have two years to file a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit. The clock starts ticking on the day that the doctor’s negligent act occurred. If you wait longer than two years to file a medical malpractice claim in Texas, the court could dismiss your claim altogether. That’s why it’s crucial to seek legal representation and justice as soon as possible.