While it’s difficult to estimate exactly how many patients suffer from misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis every year, a study published in BMJ Quality and Safety indicated that the rate of diagnostic error in the United States stands at 1 in 20 adults – and the researchers also discovered that up to 50% of all diagnostic errors have the potential for “severe harm.” With delayed diagnosis in particular, those suffering from serious medical conditions may be unable to get the care they need in time to prevent a fatality.
At Cullan & Cullan, our experienced Kansas City delayed diagnosis attorneys can help you navigate the process of filing a medical malpractice claim. As both seasoned lawyers and medical doctors, our team is well-equipped to help you uncover the source of your injuries and then take prompt legal action.
Contact us at (816) 253-8606 today or message us online for more information.
When Can a Delayed Diagnosis Cause Harm?
In a busy hospital or clinic, there’s always the risk you will encounter some delays in receiving treatment. Most of these system-related delays do not pose a threat to patients’ health and safety, and serve as more of an inconvenience than anything else. However, when a physician fails to promptly diagnose a condition and causes you to sustain serious injuries as a result, they can be held civilly liable for your losses, including medical bills, lost wages, and disability accommodations.
In one study performed at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, researchers found that the most common and catastrophic medical errors stemmed from an inaccurate or delayed diagnosis. After reviewing over 55,000 medical malpractice claims, their researchers found that diagnostic issues make up 28.7% of all medical-related lawsuits filed in the United States.
According to this study, diagnostic errors are most deadly when they involve one of the “Big Three” medical conditions:
- Cancer: At least 37.8% of all deadly diagnostic errors involve some form of cancer, with lung cancer leading in this category.
- Vascular events: Life-threatening heart conditions such as heart attacks are often misdiagnosed – and when patients have a delayed diagnosis, the cost can be deadly.
- Infection: Almost 15% of all catastrophic injury claims involving diagnostic error stemmed from infection, particularly sepsis and septic shock.
Proving a Delayed Diagnosis Claim
In any medical malpractice case, it is not enough to show that you experienced a negative medical outcome, as medical procedures do not come with a guarantee of success. Similarly, it is not enough to claim that your doctor failed to treat your symptoms with urgency. In order to have a delayed diagnosis lawsuit, you must show that you sustained life-altering injuries as a direct result of a physician’s negligence – meaning that they actively violated the standard of care in failing to diagnose your condition in time.
Because our Kansas City attorneys also have medical degrees, we understand the standard of care and how it can apply in a variety of medical malpractice claims. If you suspect that a delayed diagnosis led you to suffer lasting damage or caused the loss of a loved one, we can advocate on your behalf and seek the compensation you deserve.
Call Cullan & Cullan at (816) 253-8606 or contact us online today for a free consultation.