Misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose happens far more frequently than most people think. Thankfully, often the misdiagnosis has no real consequences because the illness, disease or condition can be treated and corrected even after a late diagnosis. But occasionally misdiagnosis causes a serious, irreversible worsening of a medical condition or illness, or leads to death. This can happen either because the misdiagnosis caused too much time to go by so that the disease or condition is no longer curable or treatable. It can also happen where the misdiagnosis caused the wrong prescription to be given, which harmed the patient.
Some commonly misdiagnosed illnesses or conditions are: Cancers (prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer etc.), appendicitis, pulmonary embolism, strokes, tuberculosis, meningitis and diabetes. But many other conditions or illnesses are often misdiagnosed.
If the misdiagnosis is caught in time, and the harm is undone by proper treatment, then generally there is no malpractice case to pursue. As a general rule, misdiagnosis cases have a "no harm no foul" rule.
There are many reasons for wrong, mistaken or missed diagnosis. Some of them are: rushed doctors, unqualified doctors, poor communication with the patient, failure on the part of the doctor to research the symptoms or condition, misreading an ex–ray, mammography, ultrasound, or misreading a biopsy, misreading blood, urine or pap smear tests, misreading ex–rays, MRI's or other images, and failure to eliminate all possible conditions corresponding to the symptoms.
No one is more devastated than the patient who gets a "clean bill of health" from a doctor only to learn a year or so later that the doctor missed a serious, life–threatening medical problem. When the medical illness or condition could have been timely treated or cured, but now is going to lead to death instead, the medical professional has literally killed his patient.
Cancer is misdiagnosed in many ways. Sometimes a malignant tumor is misidentified as benign, or specimens are read or interpreted wrong by the pathologist, or the doctor fails to follow up or have the patient come back for additional testing, or a cancerous lesion is overlooked, or a patient who is at increased risk of developing cancer is not thoroughly screened.
No matter how the misdiagnoses or the failure to diagnose occurs, the doctor and/or hospital will be liable if missing the diagnosis is a departure from the ordinary standard of care for doctors.
The Auburn, New York medical misdiagnosis attorneys of Michaels & Smolak have recovered millions of dollars for clients injured, or whose loved ones were killed, by misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose illnesses, diseases and medical conditions and for other injuries. If you or a loved one has been a victim of a misdiagnosis that has caused serious injury or risk of death, CONTACT US for a free consultation with an experienced lawyer who can inform you of your legal rights and maximize your compensation.