If you or a loved one has a medical condition that your doctor missed or delayed diagnosing, you are not alone. The British Medical Journal reports that diagnostic errors account for 26 to 63 percent of medical malpractice claims against primary care doctors.
Knowing that misdiagnosis is common does not help you to overcome the damage your doctor caused by making this medical error. Still, because misdiagnoses occur so frequently, it is important to get a second opinion and have your medical records reviewed in any situation where mistakes may have been made.
You have legal rights under Illinois law. An attorney from the Chicago or Waukegan office of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. can explain those rights and assess your options in a free consultation. Contact us today to learn more.
Types of Diagnostic Errors That Can Give Rise to a Medical Malpractice Claim
Many people who are the victims of a misdiagnosis are not certain, at first, whether their doctor did something wrong. However, the reality is that physicians make many different kinds of diagnostic errors that can give rise to a malpractice claim.
You should have your records reviewed and speak to a lawyer in situations when your doctor has:
- Diagnosed you with a medical condition you did not have
- Failed to diagnose you with a medical problem that you exhibited symptoms for
- Diagnosed you with the wrong medical condition, such as heartburn when you were having a heart attack
- Delayed diagnosing a serious medical problem, resulting in delayed treatment.
In any situation where a missed or delayed diagnosis occurs, you have the right to make a malpractice claim if no reasonable doctor would have made the same mistakes your physician made.
When you file your claim, Illinois law requires you to prove that a reasonable doctor with the same background and experience as your physician would have correctly diagnosed your health problems.
Common Mistakes That Doctors Make
Obtaining your medical records is important if you suspect you have a malpractice claim. An attorney in Chicago who concentrates in the area of medical malpractice can review your records and connect you with experts who can identify what went wrong.
Some of the common things to look for in medical records indicating a doctor made an unacceptable error include evidence that:
- Medical tests were read incorrectly by a lab
- Your doctor didn’t order appropriate tests given the nature of your symptoms
- Your doctor failed to follow up to obtain results of medical tests or failed to communicate test results to you
- Lab results were misplaced
- The lab read the wrong sample
- The lab mixed up your lab results with another patient’s results
- Your doctor missed obvious signs of serious illness or injury in your x-rays, CT scans, blood tests or other diagnostic tests.
While there are a huge number of different mistakes that can lead to misdiagnosis (and malpractice claims) these are some of the most common red flags that suggest you may have a claim against your physician or care provider.
Is Your Condition Commonly Misdiagnosed?
Malpractice claims for misdiagnosis often occur when physicians fail to correctly diagnose:
- Heart Attack
- Cerebral palsy and other birth injuries
- Blood clots
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placental abruption
These are all conditions that have symptoms that are frequently confused with other (often less serious) medical issues. These are also conditions that, if not diagnosed promptly, can lead to life-threatening medical emergencies.
If you had one of these health problems and your doctor misdiagnosed it, you may have been badly damaged by the mistake that was made. In these situations, as in any other case where medical negligence made your prognosis worse, you need to understand your legal rights.
The Consequences of Misdiagnosis
You have the right to be compensated for any losses or damage that your physician caused by misdiagnosing you. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis can often lead to death, especially if you are sent home from the hospital when you have a serious condition such as appendicitis or a heart attack. Even a misdiagnosis of an illness like cancer can significantly increase the chances of death. While many cancers are treatable if caught early, they can become terminal if they spread.
Illinois law allows you to make a personal injury claim for missed or delayed diagnosis if:
- Your prognosis was worse because of the error
- You had to undergo more invasive, expensive or risky medical treatment
- You experienced significant pain or impairment because of the misdiagnosis
- You received treatment you did not require.
In any situation where the physician’s actions caused harm, you can be compensated in full for both economic and non-economic losses that resulted.
A Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help Delayed / Missed Diagnosis Victims
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our attorneys handle misdiagnosis malpractice claims throughout Chicago and the state of Illinois. We are here to help with your case. Give us a call or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.