If you are suffering from a serious illness or physical impairment from a condition you believe could have been prevented, you may be the subject of a medical misdiagnosis. Medical misdiagnosis is much more common than you might expect. A recent study estimates 5% or about 12 million adults in the United States each year are wrongly diagnosed. If this happened to you, you might wonder if you have any recourse. It is certainly possible that you do.
The negative effects a patient suffers from delayed or improper treatment due to an incorrect diagnosis vary. For example, an overlooked cancer diagnosis could impact the patient’s chances of survival. By the time the correct diagnosis is made, it might be too late for the disease to respond to treatment. In other cases, conditions such as heart attack or stroke might not exhibit the classic symptoms and therefore be mistaken for another condition resulting in the patient suffering physical impairments she otherwise would not have, if she received the proper treatment sooner. Bacterial infections are also sometimes not correctly diagnosed and symptoms are instead treated as something else like the common flu virus. Without initiating the proper antibiotics, an otherwise ordinary infection, such as pneumonia or a urinary tract infection, could progress to sepsis and result in damage to and/or shutting down of the body’s organs, which can lead to amputation, stroke or death.
If you feel you have been misdiagnosed and it resulted in a serious injury, you should make a list of your medical treatment, including names, dates of treatment, and symptoms reported, and compile your medical records. As a patient, you have an unrestricted right to your medical records, you just have to request them. Finally, consult with an experienced attorney to determine if you have a potential legal claim.