According to a study published in BMJ Quality and Safety, up to 12 million adults are misdiagnosed in the United States every year – representing about 5% of all patient encounters with physicians. Another study by Johns Hopkins Medicine 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 instances of medical misdiagnosis 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 Kansas City misdiagnosis lawyers are also doctors. Our advanced medical degrees can help you explore whether misdiagnosis 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 misdiagnosis claim.
For more information about our legal services, contact our team today at (816) 253-8606.
Common Causes of Medical Misdiagnosis
Physicians must go through years of 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:
- 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 sustained a serious injury, you are entitled to pursue a lawsuit.
Proving a Misdiagnosis Claim
Physicians are held to the “standard of care” in any situation – whether you were misdiagnosed during the initial patient screening process or at the time of discharge. The standard of care is the medical attention you would expect to receive in the same situation from another physician.
Your misdiagnosis could be 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 and another physician would have diagnosed you correctly
- Can prove that the misdiagnosis directly led to serious injury
Do you think you have a misdiagnosis claim in Kansas City? Contact our experienced doctor-lawyers at Cullan & Cullan for a free consultation.