Medical Malpractice — Can I Sue My Doctor for Diagnostic Errors?

Medical Malpractice — Can I Sue My Doctor for Diagnostic Errors?

Suing a doctor for medical malpractice can be a complicated process. Several legal elements must be proven before you can hold your doctor liable for medical errors or medical negligence. However, that does not mean you should not pursue a medical malpractice claim. If your doctor caused you harm or injury because of a diagnostic error, the doctor should be held liable, and you deserve compensation for your injuries. Let’s look at some diagnostic errors and how those errors can cause a patient to suffer needless harm and injury.

Are Diagnostic Errors Common?

An estimated 10 to 20 percent of all medical diagnoses in the United States are inaccurate. According to Coverys Insurance Services, diagnosis-related events are a common cause of medical malpractice claims. In a recent report, the company found that diagnosis-related claims were the most common root cause of claims based on a review of move than 10,000 claims over a five year period from 2013 to 2017. The most common condition cited in the claims for diagnostic errors was cancer.

One-third of the claims reviewed involved errors related to evaluating the patient while just over one-half of the diagnostic errors involved diagnostic or lab testing steps. A little over one-third of the diagnostic errors occurred in non-emergency department outpatient settings.

What Types of Errors are Included in Diagnostic Mistakes?

Diagnosing a patient involves many steps. A mistake or error occurring at any of those steps could have severe and life-threatening consequences for the patient. Examples of diagnostic errors include:

  • Failing to perform a physical examination of the patient or complete family medical history
  • Failing to notate and consider the patient’s reported symptoms
  • Failing to order various diagnostic tests
  • Mishandling the samples for a diagnostic test (i.e. blood samples, tissue samples, etc.)
  • Mistakes performing a diagnostic test
  • Misinterpreting the results of a diagnostic test
  • Failing to order follow-up tests or making referrals to specialists based on the results of a diagnostic test

Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis can result in great harm to the patient. An error during the diagnosing phase can result in unnecessary treatment (misdiagnosis) or no treatment at all (delayed diagnosis). When a patient does not receive prompt medical treatment for the correct condition, the patient could suffer irreparable harm. In some cases, a patient may die because he or she did not receive the required treatment because of a diagnostic error.

What Should I Do If My Doctor Made a Diagnostic Error?

If you believe your condition was not diagnosed properly, seek immediate medical attention from another medical provider. It is important that you receive the treatment you need as quickly as possible.

After receiving a correct diagnosis and treatment, contact an Erie medical malpractice attorney to discuss your situation and your options for filing a medical malpractice claim. A medical malpractice claim cannot undo the physical harm caused by a medical provider, but it can provide compensation for your injuries and damages. A medical malpractice claim also means the doctor has to answer for his or her mistakes and errors.

Contact The Travis Law Firm at (800) 401-2066 to request a free legal consultation with an Erie medical malpractice lawyer.