When we hear the term “medical malpractice,” we usually think of glaring examples of doctors’ mistakes, such as a surgeon amputating the wrong leg, operating on the wrong side of the brain, or mistakenly damaging an internal organ or artery that causes a fatal hemorrhage. However, medical malpractice can also occur when a doctor or other health care provider misdiagnoses a medical condition or disease and a patient is harmed because of the misdiagnosis.
These injuries from misdiagnoses can take many forms, ranging from the effects of not receiving timely, effective treatment to those from receiving inappropriate, potentially dangerous treatment. In all medical negligence misdiagnosis cases, however, the misdiagnosis injures the patient. In this blog post, I will explain the kinds of misdiagnoses that can potentially be considered medical malpractice in Florida, as well as what you should do if you have been injured by a misdiagnosis.
When Can a Misdiagnosis Be Considered Medical Malpractice?
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reports that incorrect and delayed diagnoses occur in all areas of health care, harming thousands of people each year. Patients are harmed when appropriate treatment is not provided or is delayed, when unnecessary or harmful treatment is administered and when patients experience psychological and financial repercussions from being misdiagnosed. Each of these scenarios could potentially be considered medical malpractice under Florida law.
When patients’ medical conditions are misdiagnosed, there can be one of two results: either the treatment administered causes further harm or failure to deliver appropriate treatment results in further progression of the disease. This is especially important in cancer misdiagnosis cases where months without the appropriate treatment can mean the cancer has progressed beyond the stage where it can be treated efficaciously. Other egregious examples of harmful misdiagnoses include:
- Misdiagnosis of a serious infection or abscess
- Misdiagnosis of a heart attack
- Misdiagnosis of a stroke
- Misdiagnosis of an aneurysm
- Misdiagnosis of an auto-immune disease
- Misdiagnosis of other serious medical conditions
Failing to correctly diagnose or delaying a diagnosis of any of these serious medical conditions can result in a life-altering or fatal injury. However, to be considered medical malpractice, your attorney must be able to demonstrate:
- You were a patient of the physician and/or other health care providers and sought a diagnosis for a medical condition.
- The physician and/or other health care providers did not follow standard, accepted medical procedures.
- Because of this negligence, the physician and/or other health care providers misdiagnosed you.
- Because of the misdiagnosis, you suffered preventable physical, emotional and/or financial harm.
To prove a misdiagnosis occurred, your Florida medical malpractice attorney will thoroughly gather evidence showing that you suffered more physical, emotional and/or financial harm than you would have if a timely, accurate diagnosis had been made. Your attorney will also use expert testimony to prove that most physicians would have considered the correct diagnosis and ordered diagnostic testing to confirm or rule it out based on the symptoms presented.
What to Do If You Have Been Injured by a Misdiagnosis
In Florida, if you are injured due to a misdiagnosis, you have the right to take legal action against the doctor or other health care providers responsible for the misdiagnosis. A medical malpractice claim can hold doctors and other health care providers accountable for their negligence and provide you with the compensation you deserve for the damages you suffered. These damages may include:
- Mental anguish
- Physical pain and suffering
- Diminished capacity to enjoy life
- Loss of companionship and guidance for family members
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Diminished earning capacity
- Other damages recoverable under Florida law
Medical malpractice cases can be very complex, but an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney will be able to thoroughly investigate the facts and details of your case, determine the substantial compensation you may be able to obtain and build a powerful argument with expert testimony in support of your claim.
At Boyers Law Group, we are committed to aggressively pursuing justice on your behalf. We will put our years of experience, extensive knowledge and ample resources to work fighting to hold the health care provider(s) who caused your misdiagnosis injuries accountable for negligence. We understand you have suffered a terrible loss and deserve answers, support and all the compensation the law will allow.