In medical settings, all doctors and medical care providers are expected to give their patients a level of care that meets certain minimum standards of competence. Failure to meet these standards may expose them to liability for injuries or illnesses which occur as a result of their inadequate care. Wrongful diagnosis is one way in which a doctor’s failure to meet the standards expected of their profession can result in their being held liable for medical malpractice.
Wrongful diagnosis can be extremely damaging to a patient, especially if the patient has a serious medical condition that requires swift, aggressive treatment in order to be dealt with successfully. When a doctor incorrectly diagnoses a patient with such a condition, they may leave them unable to recover from the effects of their illness. For this reason, the patient and their family may be entitled to seek financial compensation for the damages caused.
However, not all wrongful diagnoses are grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. In fact, most wrongful diagnoses are in line with the standards expected of a medical care provider, as many illnesses have symptoms which are fairly general, making diagnosis considerably more difficult. Generally speaking, in order for a patient to have a case for medical malpractice as a result of wrongful diagnosis, they must be able to show one of two things:
- Either the physician failed to include the patient’s condition in the list of ailments with which they might diagnose them (but a reasonably competent doctor would have)
- Or the physician did include the condition in the list of possible diagnoses but failed to conduct appropriate tests or otherwise act to investigate the possibility
In order to demonstrate that either of these factors led to the misdiagnosis, the representation of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer is often necessary in order for the patient to successfully seek the compensation they need.