According to the American Bar Association, medical malpractice is “negligence committed by a professional health care provider—a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker—whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients.”
While many things can be categorized as medical malpractice, misdiagnosis is one of the most common causes, which occurs when a doctor’s failure to properly diagnose something leads to a patient suffering from an injury or worse.
If you’re pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit as the result of a misdiagnosis, two things must be proven:
- The doctor did not provide treatment in a reasonably skillful and competent manner
- The doctor’s negligence caused actual injury to the patient
A doctor’s misdiagnosis does not always lead to harm or injury, though. In fact, statistics show that most people will experience at least one delayed medical diagnosis or misdiagnosis during their lifetime.
So how do you prove that a patient was a victim of negligence? There must be an evaluation of each step that the physician took, or did not take, to reach a diagnosis.
For example: Consider a situation where a doctor has misdiagnosed a patient’s case of strep throat.
While it may have been an oversight, malpractice can be avoided if the doctor then correctly diagnoses the patient a few days later, assuming that patient returns for a subsequent visit after their symptoms worsened. This is because it’s very unlikely that catastrophic harm could have occurred over that relatively short amount of time.
However, if that very same patient’s strep throat did not get tested or diagnosed by the doctor and more severe illness, like sepsis or a harmful infection, develops, then it’s more likely to be considered malpractice.
In the second scenario, the patient has substantial reasoning to sue for medical malpractice because their doctor neglected to provide treatment in a reasonably skillful and competent manner, and the neglect caused actual injury.
At Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen, we will do our best to make sure every client who has been a victim of medical malpractice receives the compensation they deserve. Over the last 30 years, we have successfully tried or settled many cases of medical misdiagnosis, resulting in multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts.