Lupus is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases. However, it’s not the only misdiagnosed disease out there. There are several reasons a doctor may pinpoint you to the wrong ailment. People who have been misdiagnosed may feel confused, lost, and cheated. They may have been battling the wrong disease all this time when they could have been getting help for their actual ailment. If this situation applies to you, you may be entitled to compensation. However, you’ll have to brush up on some legal terms first. Here’s everything you should know about your medical misdiagnosis lawsuit.
Why is a Misdiagnosis Wrong?
Did you know that misdiagnosis is the leading reason for malpractice lawsuits? It’s also the leading cause of patient deaths and injuries. Your medical misdiagnosis lawsuit is valid. Thousands upon thousands of patients in the U.S are subjected to delayed, missed, or completely wrong diagnosis every single year.
What’s even worse is that typically only one out of five patients go out and seek a second opinion. These patients usually find that they have been misdiagnosed their first time seeking treatment. Most patients who have received a wrong diagnosis may never know it. Most patients won’t go to another clinic in their area to seek further help.
Usually, the patient and their family suffer the consequences of this misdiagnosis. They may pay for treatment that is not necessary or even harmful.
What is the Cause of Medical Misdiagnosis?
A personal injury lawyer can help you sort the details of your medical misdiagnosis lawsuit. However, it’s also important to understand how these mistakes can happen in the first place. A wrong diagnosis is considered medical malpractice if the doctor has deviated from the medical standard of care. These incidents can happen if the following one (or more) scenarios are met.
- the doctor fails to order the appropriate screening for certain illnesses and diseases
- the doctor misinterprets the results from the lab and testing center
- the doctor fails to refer their patient to the proper team of specialists
- the doctor fails to spend enough time to discuss the patient’s symptoms
- the doctor fails to follow up with their patients after receiving new test results
What is a Differential Diagnosis?
Some more serious ailments can have the same symptoms as a common illness that is not life-threatening to the individual. For example, indigestion can cause severe stomach bloat. However, this severe bloat can also be a sign of something more lethal, like ovarian cancer. When trying to diminish the possibility of a wrong diagnosis, the best doctors will use the differential method. The doctor will start by creating a list of possible illnesses that can be attributed to the patient’s symptoms. After creating this list of possibilities, the doctor will order all the tests they need to narrow down the possibility. As each one of these exams comes back negative, your doctor can begin to cross out each one of the suspected ailments. Soon enough, this process of elimination will reveal the exact health issue the patient has been dealing with. Historically speaking, this method has been one of the most useful ways of discovering a specific issue when someone is sick.
While it is useful though, many doctors will not use this method. Most of these diseases will call for expensive tests like MRIs and PET scans. These are not available at every hospital, either. These advanced machines are typically in the larger hospitals across the nation and clinics with access to advanced treatments.
The doctor may wait until there is more evidence to support their theory of a specific ailment.
Advocate For Yourself
You may be visiting the best neuro ophthalmologist in the nation, but you should always advocate for your own health. The reason being is that even the best doctors are only human. They can also make mistakes, so you have to take charge of your own health!
Don’t Feel Shy
Don’t be afraid of holding back when you’re in the doctor’s office for fear of judgment. Your doctor is a medical professional and must know every aspect of your case before they can properly diagnose your case.
Come Prepared to Ask Plenty of Questions
If you are confused when meeting with your doctor, don’t be afraid to ask them to clarify or to repeat themselves. Ask them to explain what your test results mean. Asking questions about your personal health is not forbidden.
Do Some Research Beforehand
Ensure you also do some research beforehand. This will allow you to feel more prepared when you finally see your doctor. You can check your symptoms online. However, don’t try to diagnose yourself, as that’s your doctor’s job.
If you feel as if you’re being ignored while in your doctor’s office, don’t be afraid of getting a second opinion.
Another doctor will either confirm what you already know or be able to give you some new information pertaining to your health.
Other Common Misdiagnoses
If you have seen a doctor for the following diseases, and treatment has not improved your condition, this may be another case for a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit.
Here are some examples of other diseases that are often mistaken for another health issue.
- asthma can be misdiagnosed as recurring bronchitis if not looked at carefully
- heart attack may be misdiagnosed as a panic attack
- lupus can be misdiagnosed as stress, depression, or chronic fatigue doctors must use the sm antibody to determine whether lupus is a viable diagnosis
- parkinson’s may be misdiagnosed as stroke
How to Tell if You Have Been Misdiagnosed
Your Symptoms are Common With Multiple Conditions
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but even doctors make mistakes.
Some diseases look so similar to others. Symptoms of lupus often look like fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. Lyme disease can also express flu-like symptoms. There are several out there. If you have one of these diseases, but feel as if you’re not getting better — even after treatment — you may need to look into a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit.
Your Talk With Your Doctor Ran Short
This may be another sign that you have been misdiagnosed. Doctors can see dozens of patients in a day. They may feel as if they’re stretched way too thin! This can cause them to feel stressed, rushed, and overworked. By the time they get to your chart, they may not have enough time to deduce all of the possibilities. Yes, this is a frightening thought, but it happens! When meeting with your doctor, make sure you tell them all of the following factors.
- Tell them about any medications that you are currently taking
- Tell your doctor about your family health history
- Tell your doctor about any medications you may be taking currently (this includes all vitamins, supplements, and prescriptions)
- Tell them about your symptoms in great detail
- Tell them about the intensity of your symptoms and rate them on a scale of one to ten
Your Doctor Failed to Use all of the Available Diagnostic Tools
Getting a diagnosis is a lot like running a race. The doctor must use the proper tools to get you towards the finish line and discover the right treatment plan for you. However, if they neglect this process, they can leave you in the dust. The doctor must take the time to run all of these tests to diagnose your illness. If they don’t follow these procedures, you might have a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit on your hands.
You Get Varied Opinions from Different Doctors
If your first doctor does any of the things listed previously, your best bet is to get a second opinion from another doctor in town. They may also confirm the original diagnosis. However, they could also discover something that the first doctor missed. Getting a third opinion isn’t out of the question either!
Finding Your Lawyer
Now you should be more knowledgeable about what a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit entails, and whether or not you qualify for compensation. You should also know whether or not you have experienced a misdiagnosis through these steps and tips. Now it’s time to learn more about finding the best lawyer in this specialty, so you can fight and win your case with confidence.
First, ensure you meet the following criteria. You must have a verified illness that was overlooked by your healthcare provider.
Secondly, you must also have measurable damages. This means you must have suffered through unnecessary medical expenses, lost income, or lost the ability to function mentally or physically.
You cannot seek compensation if your first diagnosis aligns with the same treatment as your second diagnosis.
Upon making this realization, contact an attorney in your area. Many will not charge you for a consultation, so you can talk to multiple attorneys until you find one that you feel comfortable working with.
A Medical misdiagnosis lawsuit requires a lawyer with a lot of experience. It’s an extremely specialized branch of law since there is a lot of overlap regarding legal and medical matters.
There are two types of lawyers that practice malpractice law and they include:
- lawyers who defend doctors
- lawyers who defend patients who have been affected by a misdiagnosis and need a medical misdiagnosis lawsuit
You can find many lawyers who can take your case by searching online. You can also ask around. Friends and family may be able to refer you to an injury attorney who practices this specialty.
Consider these other tips when looking for the ideal lawyer in your corner.
- Your lawyer should have a background in the medical field — they should have years of experiencing practicing medical malpractice law or have a past in the medical field.
- they should also be a member of one of the many personal injury attorney associations. The National Trial Lawyers is one such esteemed association. Your state may have its own version of this association too.
- Check the online reviews of each lawyer you interview. This may help you narrow down your selection. You can also see how many cases they have won lately and gauge a good feeling for their skill in the courtroom.
If you’re still on the hunt for a good medical malpractice attorney, you can call your local bar association. They can provide a list of lawyers with the specialty you’re looking for. Many lawyers may not have time to take your case on. However, out of all the lawyers who have time for your case, ensure that they make you feel heard and cared for.
Lastly, you can also find a great lawyer by talking to your insurance company. Your health insurance company can offer some tips on finding a malpractice lawyer in your state.
A medical misdiagnosis lawsuit can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Don’t just wait for your health to get worse! Take action! You are completely in charge of your health, and no one will advocate for you harder than YOU.
if dealing with the law sounds terrifying to you, ensure you meet with the right law firm. They will walk you through every step and ensure you’re not alone when fighting this battle.