Medical misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences for patients, leading to delayed treatment, unnecessary procedures, injury, and even death. Proving that misdiagnosis resulted from negligence can be challenging, but it’s crucial when seeking compensation in a medical malpractice claim.
At Fieger Law, our Michigan medical malpractice lawyers understand the evidence needed to prove your misdiagnosis resulted from a medical provider’s negligence, and how to find it. We can investigate your case, collect proof of malpractice, and help you receive a fair settlement for your misdiagnosis-related injuries.
What is Medical Misdiagnosis?
Medical misdiagnosis occurs when a healthcare provider inaccurately identifies a patient’s medical condition, leading to potential harm and ineffective treatment. Misdiagnosis can stem from the following:
- Limited understanding of rare or complex medical conditions
- Misinterpretation of test results, such as errors in reading or interpreting lab reports, X-rays, or MRIs
- Inadequate communication between healthcare providers, specialists, and patients
- Neglecting to review a patient’s complete medical history, which may result in overlooking critical clues to their current health issues
How Can Misdiagnosis Result in Injury or Death?
When a medical professional misdiagnoses a patient, it can have serious consequences, including injuries or death. A 2022 review found that around 7.4 million people are misdiagnosed annually when visiting the emergency room, resulting in an estimated 50 deaths and causing an estimated 75 patients serious harm per emergency room each year.
The following are the most common ways misdiagnosis can result in injury or death for victims:
- Delayed treatment: Misdiagnosis can lead to a delay in receiving appropriate treatment for a condition, allowing the disease or injury to progress and worsen. For instance, a patient with a persistent cough and chest pain could be misdiagnosed with a cold, delaying the diagnosis of pneumonia. As a result, the pneumonia progresses, leading to respiratory failure and the need for intensive care.
- Wrong medication: A misdiagnosis might result in prescribing incorrect medications, which can lead to adverse reactions, complications, or lack of improvement. Around 7,000 to 9,000 people die yearly in the U.S. due to medication errors.
- Missed diagnosis: Failure to diagnose a serious condition can prevent patients from receiving necessary interventions, leading to disease progression and potential complications. Around 2% of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and 62.1% of spinal abscesses are misdiagnosed.
- Unnecessary procedures: Misdiagnosis might lead to unnecessary surgeries, treatments, or procedures with accompanying risks and complications. For example, a misdiagnosis of appendicitis could lead to an unnecessary appendectomy, subjecting the patient to surgical risks and recovery without addressing the actual cause of their symptoms.
- Masking symptoms: Misdiagnosis can lead to treating symptoms rather than the underlying cause, which may temporarily alleviate discomfort but not address the real problem. For instance, a patient with recurring headaches may be misdiagnosed with tension headaches and prescribed painkillers. The underlying cause, a brain tumor, remains undetected and continues to grow, leading to severe neurological issues.
- Missed preventive measures: Misdiagnosis can result in missed preventive care and worsening conditions. For instance, patients with symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may be advised to wear compression stockings or take anticoagulants. Failure to diagnose and treat DVT can be fatal, leading to a pulmonary embolism. One review found a misdiagnosis rate for DVT was as high as 50% in those without typical symptoms.
How to Prove Medical Malpractice Regarding Misdiagnosis
Proving that a medical misdiagnosis led to your injury can be challenging because of the complicated nature of healthcare procedures and medical malpractice law. Medical procedures often involve inherent risks; not all unfavorable outcomes are necessarily due to negligence.
Distinguishing between a medical error and an unfortunate result means your attorney must thoroughly analyze your healthcare records to determine when or if the provider acted negligently. This may involve consulting medical experts, piecing together a treatment timeline, and becoming familiar with your condition’s testing and treatment protocols.
Fieger Law’s experienced medical malpractice attorneys understand these challenges. When we represent you, we will collaborate with medical experts who can assess your case and provide credible testimony on your behalf. Our attorneys can also scrutinize your medical records and gather evidence to show that the provider negligently misdiagnosed you, resulting in your injuries.
Seeking Justice and Compensation for Medical Misdiagnosis
If you or your loved one has suffered from a medical misdiagnosis in Michigan, seek the assistance of Fieger Law. Our medical malpractice lawyers have over 70 years of combined experience and have won millions for victims of medical negligence across the U.S.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step towards holding healthcare providers accountable and obtaining the compensation you deserve.