A 2014 study says that, “At least one in 20 U.S. adults, or 12 million people yearly, may be misdiagnosed when they go to see their doctors”. In addition, researchers have estimated that approximately half of these cases can potentially lead to serious harm, such as when doctors fail to follow up on “red flags.” The study made use of information from a sample of doctors’ clinic visits and looked through hundreds of medical records to determine whether patients were misdiagnosed.
In the study, information was reviewed from cases wherein doctors did not follow up on “red flags.” This failure to follow up can lead to serious consequences. Recently, a woman named Tamara Brooks saw her son James get diagnosed with kidney disease and placed on dialysis. She donated one of her kidneys after James spent almost a year on dialysis, only to find out that it could have been prevented altogether. Her lawyer claimed that there were signs of problems in the lab report, but the doctor did not follow up on them.
A number of lawsuits that are handled by medical malpractice attorneys in Brooklyn come from misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. An error in diagnosis can lead to incorrect treatment and a patient’s condition may even worsen over time. Patients rely on their doctors to perform the necessary procedures in order to determine what is causing their symptoms, and for the doctors to get the diagnosis wrong is a failure on their part.
The patient must prove three things in order to win a medical malpractice lawsuit: that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that the doctor was negligent and did not provide the appropriate treatment in a skillful manner, and that the doctor’s negligence actually led to an injury. Most medical malpractice cases lean heavily towards the last two. A misdiagnosis in itself is not enough to prove negligence because even the most skilled doctors can make errors. The key here is to determine if the doctor acted competently.
Medical malpractice cases that involve misdiagnosis are bound by complex rules so it is vital that the patient gets professional help from a seasoned Brooklyn medical malpractice lawyer. Lawyers such as those from the Law Offices of Joseph Lichtenstein have handled such cases and would be able to help in proving a misdiagnosis.
(12 Million Misdiagnoses Occur Yearly in US, Study Finds, Live Science, April 16, 2014)