Misdiagnosis and wrongful diagnosis are preventable medical errors that have become a serious medical issue. Statistics show that errors like misread mammograms and misdiagnosis of breast cancer kill more people than some of the leading causes of death.
Most people understand that medicine it is not perfect, and that it’s certainly not the complete cure for every condition. Therefore, if treatment does not work, it isn’t necessarily grounds for medical malpractice. It’s important to know how an incorrect or missed diagnosis can lead to medical malpractice. A failure to diagnosis or a wrongful diagnosis can warrant filing a medical malpractice claim. In this case, there must be harm caused by the doctor’s actions to be considered malpractice. Where a wrongful or missed diagnosis is involved, the condition develops from a lack of treatment and usually worsens over time before it is correctly diagnosed.
The most common type of wrongful diagnosis is a false negative. This happens when a doctor does not identify a patient’s symptoms with an illness and deems the patient healthy when in reality the patient is not. False positives are the exact opposite and occur when a doctor tells a patient that he or she are suffering from a disease or condition when the patient really is not. The patient agrees to the doctor’s prescribed course of action, and endures harsh side effects from unnecessary treatments. Mistaking a condition for another condition is also a common form of wrongful diagnosis.
Wrongful diagnosis has a huge impact on the patient’s life. The emotional turmoil of believing you have a disease or illness, or feeling like no one can truly tell you the condition can cause a great deal of anxiety and fear. The physical stress of living with an illness that no doctor is able to diagnosis is equally as frightening. When you add up the physical and emotional side effects with the cost of medical care, wrongful diagnosis is an expensive, life-changing situation that no one should have to go through.