Can My Doctor Be Held Responsible if They Failed to Correctly Diagnose My Condition?
What is a Misdiagnosis in Pennsylvania?
The misdiagnosis of conditions by medical providers is more common than many people realize. Doctors are expected to make a determination regarding the cause of a person’s health decline based on the information provided by the individual and normally short examination, and prescribe a course of treatment to resolve the matter, making the likelihood of mistake a real possibility. Though difficult to measure, most experts estimate that the misdiagnosis of illnesses and missed diagnoses of illnesses happen 40 percent of the time.
Misdiagnosis Versus Missed Diagnosis in Pennsylvania
Though they may seem similar, the concept of a “misdiagnosis” of an illness versus the “missed diagnosis” of an illness are quite unalike. A misdiagnosis involves a doctor examining a patient and his or her symptoms, and diagnosing them with the wrong condition, such as saying someone has a cold when they actually have the flu. A missed diagnosis occurs when a doctor fails to identify certain symptoms and then fails to diagnosis a patient with any sort of condition or illness.
Both Misdiagnosis and a Missed Diagnosis Can Be the Basis of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Pennsylvania
Individuals harmed by a missed diagnosis, as well as individuals harmed by a misdiagnosis, can use that harm as basis for seeking compensation through a medical malpractice claim. However, medical malpractice claims are incredibly difficult to successfully prosecute, and in order to be successful, an individual must be able to show that the actions of the doctor, in issuing the misdiagnosis or missing a diagnosis completely, breached their duty of care to the harmed individual. Not only that, but the individual must also be able to show that the missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis resulted in a compensable injury.
Proving that the Doctors’ Breach Caused the Injury Can Be Surprisingly Difficult
One of the most challenging aspects of any medical malpractice claim based upon a missed diagnosis is proving that the harm suffered was caused by the doctor’s missed diagnosis. Assuming that it is proven that the doctor failed to act as any other reasonable doctor in the situation would in not considering all of the symptoms, the Plaintiff must still prove that missing the diagnosis was a substantial factor in the harm caused. The reason for the challenge is that very often, it can be difficult to definitively prove that the doctor’s missed diagnosis resulted in any more harm than would have otherwise come to the person. For example, if a doctor failed to request a brain scan for an individual suffering from headaches who was not responding to other treatment, and the person was later diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that led to death, it may be difficult to show that the doctor’s breach of the duty of care led to death if the tumor was already inoperable.
Contact a Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Attorney for a Consultation About Your Misdiagnosis Case in Pennsylvania
Were you or a loved one injured due to misdiagnosis in Pennsylvania? Then you need to talk to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible for guidance on how to proceed. The Pittsburgh medical malpractice attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC are prepared to assist you with your legal claim. We represent victims of negligent surgeons, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists throughout Pennsylvania including Butler, Cranberry Township, Erie, and Greensburg. Call us today at 412-471-4300 or email us to schedule a consultation. Our main office is located at 310 Grant Street Suite 720 Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.