Being sick over the holidays can be depressing and hard to deal with. You might visit the doctor once, twice, or even three times and feel like you’re not getting better despite their simple diagnosis and promise that you’ll “feel better in a week or so.” Even though you may have faith in your doctor, it could be time to obtain a second opinion on a misdiagnosis.
If you’re not getting better over a couple of weeks, there could be more going on than you originally thought. A medical misdiagnosis is severe and should be taken seriously. Let’s talk about what a medical misdiagnosis is, why you should get a second opinion on a misdiagnosis and whether you should take legal action.
Medical Malpractice and Misdiagnosis Defined
Medical malpractice and misdiagnosis happen when a medical doctor or other health care provider does not provide appropriate treatments or act on test results or symptoms. This substandard treatment leads to harm, injury, or death to their patient.
Medical malpractice usually includes a medical error like a wrong diagnosis, wrong medication or dosage given, incorrect care or treatment, etc. Because these errors result in harm, patients can recover compensation through the legal system.
Proving Medical Malpractice
In order for a medical malpractice case to be successful, you must prove:
- There was a doctor-patient relationship that existed.
- The doctor (or other healthcare providers) was careless or negligent and did not provide reasonable treatment that another doctor would have provided were they in the same situation.
- There was harm or injury to the patient because of the doctor’s (or healthcare provider) negligence.
Just because your doctor misdiagnoses you or takes longer than you would like to diagnose your condition does not always mean they were negligent. Good doctors can still make errors even when they are working and treating you while using reasonable care. This is because so much goes into a diagnosis, and your doctor often needs to conduct different tests and try other treatments to come to your diagnosis. It’s not called “practicing medicine” for no reason.
In a medical malpractice case, you must prove that a doctor in a similar situation would have acted differently and wouldn’t have misdiagnosed the patient’s condition. In short, you need to prove the following:
- Your doctor didn’t even have the correct diagnosis on their radar and list of possible diagnoses, and a doctor with similar skills and knowledge (or specialty) would have included it.
- Your doctor included the correct diagnosis on their possible or differential diagnosis list but did not follow through with performing appropriate tests or seeking more information. Or a specialist was not consulted by appropriate physicians to investigate the diagnosis.
Imagine that you have endured sickness, pain, and suffering for weeks, months, and maybe even years while visiting your doctor and being treated with different medications and therapies. This doesn’t even begin to include the myriad of testing you may have undergone, and the costs alone for these various treatments and testing can be devastating.
After undergoing all this pain and suffering, you come to find that you have had cancer all along, and your doctor has not diagnosed you correctly. Just think, if you had been diagnosed correctly from the beginning, how much time and money would you have saved in actual treatment? This misdiagnosis could end up costing you your life!
Maybe it worked entirely opposite for you. For example, you were diagnosed with cancer and received treatment but then found out you don’t have cancer at all. A misdiagnosis is truly life-changing and can result in extensive harm being done to the patient or worse.
When a misdiagnosis like the examples above occurs, the patient has the right to sue the doctor, clinic, hospital, or other medical professionals and entities involved. A medical malpractice attorney is best to handle cases like this as there is much to know and do in order to prove negligence and true medical malpractice.
Second Opinion on a Misdiagnosis
If you believe you have received a misdiagnosis, obtaining a second opinion from another doctor is most likely your next best step. Studies have shown that over 85% of patients that seek a second opinion end up receiving a completely new or refined diagnosis altogether. This alone should show the significance and value of obtaining a second opinion.
Attaining a second opinion will not only help your misdiagnosis legal case but also move your diagnosis and subsequent treatment forward and aid in your hopeful healing and/or management of your condition. Worse comes to worst – you will be educated more fully on your condition and have more confidence in your diagnosis and treatment.
You should especially consider obtaining a second opinion if:
- Your doctor is suggesting you begin a treatment that is risky to your health.
- The treatment that has been recommended is not cleared by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).
- The treatment suggested is experimental.
- Your doctor does not know for certain what your diagnosis is.
A second opinion can help you establish that the standard of care your physician delivered was not met appropriately. The doctor that you gain a second opinion from may be willing to testify how your original physician was negligent in their care as well.
Obtaining Legal Representation
If you believe that you have been the victim of a medical misdiagnosis, it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation as soon as possible. Wormington & Bollinger is more than proficient in handling medical malpractice and misdiagnosis cases. In addition, make it easier on yourself by having a team behind you from the beginning to take the stress of handling all the small details of a legal case for you.
Wormington & Bollinger can guide you through obtaining a second opinion on a misdiagnosis and a subsequent legal case. For more information, contact our team to learn more and to find out if your misdiagnosis may be successful in collecting compensation for your pain and suffering, medical costs, and more.