Wrongful or misdiagnosis cases involve a mistaken identification of a medical condition and are different from failure to diagnose claims. In misdiagnosis cases, the physician has arrived at an improper medical diagnosis, as opposed to not arriving at a diagnosis at all. Negligent diagnoses can result in serious heath conditions and sometimes death. Misdiagnosis claims can also include delayed diagnosis claims, which occurs when the patient suffers more serious health conditions due to the doctor’s inability to timely diagnosis the patient’s condition. In order to successfully litigate a wrongful or misdiagnosis claim, an experienced personal injury lawyer must prove that the doctor failed to provide an adequate standard of care and had the doctor properly diagnosed the patient’s condition, the patient would have received proper medical treatment and avoided further injury. Doctors are expected to render a definite diagnosis only after all necessary medical tests have been conducted. There are a number of illnesses that are commonly diagnosed, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, blood clots, meningitis and diabetes.
The most common misdiagnosis claims are a result of a false position, in which the doctor diagnoses the patient with a disease that is non-existent; false negative, in which the doctor fails to diagnose a disease or condition; and, equivocal results, in which the doctor’s interpretation is not without a definitive diagnosis. Healthcare providers can avoid a wrongful or misdiagnosis claim by implementing due diligence and care standards. A physician is expected to correctly administer tests, read and interpret lab results, consult other doctors when necessary and request further exams to diagnose conditions. In 2006, a medical report indicated that almost 20% of all deadly illness diagnoses are wrongful diagnosed. Almost 80,000 deaths per year are the result of negligent diagnosis. Patients expect their doctors and health care providers will treat them with best care; many do not fathom that the diagnosis rendered by their doctor is incorrect.