Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
Having an understanding of what a misdiagnosis entails and why it can lead to a legal claim is important. A missed diagnosis is a type of actionable harm that could have been prevented in medical malpractice cases. It occurs when a doctor inaccurately assesses a patient’s condition as less severe than it actually is or diagnoses a condition that is more severe than what is truly present. Both situations can result in inappropriate treatment, leading to negative health outcomes, including death.
When a proper diagnosis is made, there is a higher likelihood of successful treatment and a positive outcome. Conversely, an incorrect diagnosis can significantly decrease a patient’s chances of receiving effective therapy and surviving. The Healthcare Commission discovered that one in ten complaints made to the NHS involved inaccurate, delayed, or missed diagnosis.
Some common examples of incorrect diagnoses include not referring a patient to a specialist for necessary care, misinterpreting test results, inadequate examination, disregarding a patient’s medical history, and ignoring symptoms or signs. Disability payments for cerebral palsy are not a result of a windfall or lottery win, but rather a form of financial and legal compensation for those who have been wronged due to medical malpractice.
Medical personnel’s failure to diagnose, inaccurate diagnoses, and other diagnostic errors can have disastrous and potentially fatal consequences for patients. This is because illnesses and conditions may worsen before being correctly identified, making treatment more challenging or impossible. Some of the reasons for diagnostic errors are discussed below.
The disintegration of care is a significant and growing issue in modern medicine. When a patient seeks care from multiple doctors for the same set of symptoms, the doctors may recommend different tests and provide conflicting diagnoses due to their unique perspectives. If the patient eventually sees a specialist who prescribes the wrong treatment, a medical misdiagnosis has occurred. Patients within the NHS may be examined by many physicians who perform different tests and exams, resulting in conflicting diagnoses and making it difficult to accurately diagnose and treat the patient’s condition.
- Overconfidence or inexperience on the part of medical professionals: In some cases, doctors may lack the necessary knowledge to correctly interpret a patient’s symptoms, order appropriate tests, or interpret the results of those tests to arrive at a correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, the patient will pay the price for the doctor’s inexperience and risk an incorrect diagnosis.
- Busy schedules of doctors make it difficult for them to give each patient much attention. Studies have shown that doctors typically spend only ten to fifteen minutes with each patient due to the overwhelming demand for medical care. As a result, doctors may find it difficult to accurately assess their patients’ health and make correct diagnoses based solely on reported symptoms, leading to incorrect diagnoses.
- Inadequate diagnostic procedures: Patients may need to undergo multiple tests before the root of their illness can be identified. It is critical to remember that each patient has their unique set of issues when providing care. The failure to order the necessary diagnostic procedures may be due to a physician’s lack of expertise or trust in their own diagnostic skills. However, financial constraints imposed by insurance companies may prevent doctors from ordering all necessary tests before starting treatment. In other cases, insurance companies may be to blame for a lack of diagnostic testing due to their confidence in their initial diagnosis.
The vast majority of amputations caused by medical malpractice are due to misdiagnosis and improper treatment. Misdiagnosis can occur when a patient is not referred to a specialist or is treated conservatively when they should have been referred to a specialist due to an infection. Surgical errors and inadequate post-operative care are also examples of misdiagnosis. Malpractice can also occur when malignant cells are not detected in early testing. These cases are not uncommon in the United Kingdom, where individuals who have suffered amputations due to medical malpractice have successfully sued the responsible parties and been awarded financial compensation.
Amputations can range from digit amputations, which involve the removal of a single digit or the tip of a digit, to more severe cases such as pelvic or shoulder disarticulations, which involve the complete amputation of a limb along with the removal of a portion of the pelvis and shoulder.
According to NHS statistics, there are approximately 5,000 to 6,000 amputations conducted every year in the UK, with some being caused by medical professionals’ negligence, but the majority arising from chronic conditions like diabetes. While some cases may appear to be similar at first glance, Medical Negligence Professionals understand that each patient’s experience with amputation, recovery, and adaptation to a new way of life is unique.