How Can a Misdiagnosis Lead to a Medical Malpractice Claim?

There are several ways in which misdiagnosis can lead to a medical malpractice claim–read on to find out how.

Medical professionals should be able to properly diagnose their patient. Of their many obligations, diagnosis is part of a proper doctor-patient relationship. When you ask to have a name assigned to your ailment, you’re putting your faith into the hands of these professionals, trusting them with your health. In some cases, you could even be trusting them with your life. When there is a risk of such dire consequences, medical malpractice needs to be avoided at all costs. There are several ways in which misdiagnosis can lead to a medical malpractice claim–read on to find out how.

Proving Negligence

In order for a plaintiff to claim medical malpractice, they must prove that negligence has taken place. This is because a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis can be the result of an informed medical decision going awry. Some ailments can easily be mistaken for one another, which can make it reasonable for a professional to have misdiagnosed their patient. However, when negligence is involved, the misdiagnosis becomes a serious breach of trust. The plaintiff must prove what the applicable standard of care required at the time the medical care was provided, that the physician breached the standard of care, and that this breach caused the injury claimed. The standard of care in a medical negligence case is that degree of care and skill that a reasonably competent doctor acting under the same or similar circumstances would use.

Human Error

There is always the chance that simple mistakes caused someone to be misdiagnosed. In this case, it’s not necessarily medical malpractice. For instance, if the machine used for a given test was malfunctioning without its operator being aware, this is not considered malpractice. The plaintiff must be able to prove that a medical professional conducted the test or diagnosis with negligence, as per the definition above.

Harm to the Patient

In addition to proving negligence, the plaintiff must also prove that the medical professional’s negligence led to some kind of serious harm. A delayed cancer diagnosis may cause cancer to spread, making it untreatable. Misdiagnosing bipolar disorder can lead to serious medication complications, often leading to intensified symptoms. If you or a loved one has been directly harmed due to the negligence of a medical professional, contact a trusted law firm today.

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