Medical misdiagnosis is far more widespread and serious than most people might realize. A Veterans Administration analysis of three earlier studies of the issue found that approximately 12 million people a year are misdiagnosed. A third of all malpractice cases resulting in lifelong disability or death are rooted in a misdiagnosis or a delayed proper diagnosis. One study found that misdiagnosis is the top cause of medical errors. An estimated 40,000 to 80,000 deaths each year are related to misdiagnosis.
With millions of misdiagnoses every year, millions of which are serious enough to give rise to a malpractice case, and tens of thousands of which are fatal, knowing your rights in the event of suffering a medical misdiagnosis could be critical, even lifesaving. To learn about and exercise those rights, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney.
As with other kinds of personal injuries, the requirements for establishing a malpractice case include showing that the doctor owed you a duty of care, that the doctor breached that duty, and that the breach resulted in your injury. In a malpractice case, the duty is known as the standard of care. That means that your doctor is expected to follow the procedures, techniques, practices, and treatments that would be used by other physicians in treating your ailment or condition. The standard of care can be fact-specific, and procedures and treatments can differ depending upon factors unique to a particular patient, such as other health conditions already present, age, weight, and the like.
The standard of care as it applies to a misdiagnosis, then, is that your physician made the same diagnosis as any other doctor of the usual level of skill would under similar conditions. This doesn’t require your doctor to be perfect or some kind of diagnostic guru, spotting ailments no one else would notice. That only happens on television. However, it does require your doctor to display ordinary skills in making a diagnosis – the same level of skill that would be displayed by other doctors.
If your physician breached that standard of care in failing to properly diagnose your condition, you still must show that the misdiagnosis directly caused your injury. This usually will require expert witnesses to establish that you would not have suffered the harm you did had your ailment been properly diagnosed.
Providing you can show that the misdiagnosis breached the standard of care and also caused your injury, you can recover damages. Such damages can take three forms. First is compensatory damages, which is reimbursement for medical costs, lost wages, and economic damages you expect to suffer in the future. The only limit on these damages is the amount you can reasonably prove. Second is pain and suffering, which is categorized as non-economic damages. Last is punitive damages, which are rare in Ohio, and intended to punish the defendant for bad behavior.
If you have had an ailment misdiagnosed and suffered injuries as a result, the experienced Ohio medical malpractice attorneys at Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC may be able to help. They can work to help get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact our office today to request a consultation, or use our online contact form to submit questions directly to our legal team.
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