Can you sue for medical malpractice over a wrong diagnosis?
Right now, the world is on edge over the novel coronavirus that seemingly came out of nowhere and spread like wildfire throughout the globe.
Since there is a lot of fake news on the nCoV, which exhibits the same symptoms as the SARS and Mers-CoV, it is very difficult to sift what is real information and what is not.
While health officials have advised that there is no need to panic, the public tends to go overboard when it comes to viruses spreading around. You read articles coming out of the woodwork comparing the novel coronavirus with the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, which killed millions.
The hysteria brought about by the virus brings about one important question: can you sue for medical malpractice if you have been wrongly diagnosed with a disease?
Of course, we are not talking here about the nCoV. But there are equally damaging wrong diagnoses, which caused undue harm to the patient. If you were harmed by a misdiagnosis, you may need the services of Tinker law firm to provide you with the correct legal advice.
According to Hofstra University, between 2006 and 2016, doctors and hospitals settled 143,713 medical malpractice claims. The cases also forced almost 61,000 practitioners to apply for reinstatement of their license to the national database.
Meanwhile, the average settlement amount for medical malpractice lawsuits was around $300,000. The top five states with the highest payouts to patients are New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, and California.
When you say medical malpractice, it usually means that there were lapses in judgment and care by a medical professional but it can also refer to a hospital systems failure, lack of care, and misdiagnoses that indirectly or directly cause death or debilitating injury to the patient.
The most common ailments that are misdiagnosed by physicians in the United States are:
- Staph infection, that manifests with the same symptoms as the flu.
- Inflammation of the lymph nodes, which is often misdiagnosed as appendicitis.
- Asthma, which can be mistaken for recurring bronchitis.
- Stroke, which is not common among the younger set, so it is dismissed as a minor issue.
You can also imagine that the novel coronavirus can be misdiagnosed for the common flu, especially if health officials have not tracked the patient who came from the hotspot area.
When a misdiagnosis occurs
There are several reasons for the misdiagnosis, and it is not always the fault of the doctor. Among these are:
- The physician failed to conduct the test correctly
- Failing to send the necessary lab test
- Failing to refer the patient to a specialist
- The lab technician failing to interpret the results correctly
- Failing to inform the patient properly in relation to the symptoms
- Failing to conduct a follow-up on the patient for other possible reasons for the ailment
Who can be included in the lawsuit?
Generally, your physician would be the primary defendant in the medical malpractice lawsuit. However, you should not be dissuaded from including others, such as the nurses, doctor’s assistants, laboratory technicians, supervisors, and specialists if they were also negligent. The hospital may be negligent if it knowingly provided malfunctioning equipment used to diagnose the patient.
Your medical malpractice attorney will identify the defendant(s) and build your case in order to secure the best possible outcome for your claim.