Picture this scenario. A couple of months ago, you went to a doctor for a nagging cough. They recommended a chest X-ray and said that you might have pneumonia. The specialist then provided you with medications and the assurance that it would go away in a few weeks.
The past few days, the cough only got worse, so you went to see another doctor. Today, you learned that what was supposed to be pneumonia is lung cancer. Misdiagnosis is common, and it’s scary. To know more about it and your remedy if you find yourself in this situation, read the following:
What Is a Misdiagnosis?
A misdiagnosis is simply the incorrect diagnosis of an illness or a problem. A very common example is when a doctor mistakes bronchitis as pneumonia (or vice versa). Something more closely related might be cells described as cancerous even when they are benign.
It is different from missed diagnosis, which means that there is a lack of diagnosis. In the process, the patient didn’t receive any form of treatment for the disease or its symptoms.
Some people also tend to interchange the term with overdiagnosis, but the latter is more commonly associated with screening tests. Experts define it as a diagnosis that might not have otherwise presented any clinical symptom and thus couldn’t be detected if it weren’t for the screening exam.
Depending on the nature of the diagnostic issue, it can classify as medical malpractice. These forms of problems can also lead to physical and mental harm on the patient.
How Common Is Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis is a lot common than people think. A study published in 2014 in BMJ Quality & Safety revealed that at least 5% of the population might have been wrongly diagnosed. Although this was a small percentage, it represented 12 million adults.
The research also revealed other troubling data. One, this problem occurred even outside of the hospital setting. In other words, specialists in doctors’ offices or outpatient clinics could commit it. Worse of all, about 50% of these misdiagnosis cases could lead to severe harm.
Meanwhile, a 2017 Mayo Clinic research cited that an overwhelming 88% of patients who sought a second opinion received a new diagnosis.
What Are the Remedies In Case of a Misdiagnosis?
Misdiagnosis can lead to different types of problems or harms. For example, it can increase the level of anxiety, or it can result in delayed treatment. It can potentially increase the costs of medical bills or hospitalization. It can even lead to death!
If the misdiagnosis resulted in or has the potential to lead to harm, the patient can consider seeking the help of a New York attorney who specializes in medical malpractice.
Together, they can file a civil claim against the negligent or offending parties, which can be a doctor, hospital, clinic, lab, or all of the above. In turn, the court can award economic damages to the plaintiff.
What Is Necessary to File a Medical Malpractice?
First, it’s essential to establish who is at fault. Determining negligence can vary among states. New York, for instance, follows comparative negligence. It means that it tries to know whether the plaintiff has a contribution to the misdiagnosis and the degree of the oversight.
Then, you need to know the statute of limitations. It refers to the period when you can sue the defendant for medical malpractice. The length of time can differ according to the offense. For example, if it’s a cancer misdiagnosis, you have two years since the time you learned about it to file a lawsuit. It’s different from a general personal injury, which is three years from the date of the accident.
They say that medicine is both science and art. Doctors depend on their years of training and knowledge to diagnose a person, and yet, in the end, each case can still be unique. Medical malpractice, though, is dangerous, and if it ever happens, it’s best to get help because you deserve it.