According to a study published in BMJ Quality and Safety, up to 12 million adults are misdiagnosed in the U.S. every year – representing about 5% of all patient encounters with physicians. Another study uncovered that misdiagnosis is the top cause of medical malpractice lawsuits, with up to 28.7% of all claims involving a failure to diagnose.
Although some misdiagnoses involve minor injury, this type of negligence can easily lead to serious injury and death when the patient has a life-threatening condition. At Cullan & Cullan, our misdiagnosis attorneys are also doctors. Our medical degrees can help you explore whether a diagnostic error played a role in your injuries.
With over $350 million won for our clients and a history of record-breaking verdicts, we’ll strive to maximize your compensation in a medical misdiagnosis claim.
Call (816) 253-8606 to speak with a diagnostic error attorney in Kansas City, MO about your options.
Commonly Misdiagnosed Conditions
The best way to fight a serious injury or illness is to receive proper diagnosis and treatment right away. Delays can only make the problem worse.
In some cases, patients die because they did not receive treatment soon enough. In other cases, patients suffer increased disability such as permanent nerve damage, paralysis, brain injury, blindness, or damage to muscles and vital organs.
Commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions include:
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart attack
- Meningitis and other infections
- Internal bleeding
- Fractured vertebrae
- Subdural hematoma
- Detached retina
- Anaphylactic shock
Common Causes of Diagnostic Errors
Physicians must go through years of education and training in order to gain the skills for patient diagnosis. Because most medical conditions have overlapping symptoms with at least a few other conditions, doctors should adhere to the “differential diagnosis method” when they are unsure about the root cause of your problem.
The differential diagnosis method involves creating a list of possible illnesses – and then systematically eliminating the wrong answers through testing.
At times, physicians may be reluctant to use the differential diagnosis method due to understaffing concerns. In other cases, the physician may be more concerned with the expense of ordering a test than they are about your health. While failing to use the differential method doesn’t automatically mean that your doctor has engaged in malpractice, it could be a sign that they were negligent in treating you.
Some other common causes of misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose:
- Failure to request the right screening procedures for your symptoms
- Lack of communication with patients about test results
- Failure to correctly interpret lab and test results
- Failure to refer out to a specialist
As our health care system continues to become more complex and technologically advanced, it’s easier than ever for patients to get lost in the shuffle.
No matter what caused your misdiagnosis – poor communication, failure to order testing, understaffing, faulty electronic records or a lack of physician training – if you were harmed or further injured, you are entitled to pursue compensation.
Proving Negligence in Your Case
Physicians are held to the “standard of care” in any situation – whether you were misdiagnosed during the initial patient screening process or your doctor failed to diagnose your condition at all. The standard of care is the medical attention you would expect to receive from another physician under the same circumstances.
You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit if you:
- Have a doctor-patient relationship already established
- Can prove the standard of care was not met by the physician
- Can prove that the misdiagnosis directly led to your harm
Do you think you have a misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose claim in Kansas City? Contact our doctor-lawyers at Cullan & Cullan for a free consultation: (816) 253-8606.
A Delayed Diagnosis Can Cause Serious 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.
Typically, diagnostic errors are most deadly when they involve:
- 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, it can be deadly.
- Infection: Almost 15% of all catastrophic injury claims involving diagnostic error stemmed from infection, particularly sepsis and septic shock.
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 serious injuries as a direct result of a physician’s negligence.
If you suspect that a delayed diagnosis led you to suffer lasting damage or caused the death of a loved one, we can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Did Your Doctor Fail to Diagnose Your Condition?
Failing to diagnose a serious injury or illness can mean the difference between life and death. Some potentially lethal conditions such as cancer, strokes, heart attacks, blood clots, pulmonary embolism, and internal bleeding require timely treatment, and failing to either diagnose such serious conditions or to order a necessary medical test is a dangerous form of medical negligence that has serious consequences.
If the medical professional performing the diagnosis failed to diagnose a condition that should have been identified with reasonable care and skill, that professional may be held accountable for the injuries and losses the patient suffers as a result.
Examples of negligence that can lead to a missed diagnosis include:
- Failing to schedule and perform regular screenings for high-risk patients
- Failing to notice indications of serious problems
- Improperly conducting an examination
- Failing to listen to a patient’s complaints
- Failing to order certain tests when reasonably necessary
- Misinterpreting test results
- Misdiagnosing a tumor as benign
- Failing to provide adequate follow-up care
- Delaying the referral of an at-risk patient to a specialist
Holding a negligent medical professional accountable is not just about getting money, but preventing similar mistakes from happening to others in the future. Our Kansas City failure to diagnose lawyers at Cullan & Cullan are here to listen and provide helpful guidance for your medical malpractice claim. The more information you have about your legal rights and options, the better you can plan for your future.
If you suffered harm as a result of a misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, or delayed diagnosis in Kansas City, contact Cullan & Cullan at (816) 253-8606 for help.