Medical malpractice does not only include unreasonable or intentional neglect. New studies have determined that misdiagnosis is an equally serious form of medical malpractice — one that is far more prevalent than was previously known.
The studies found that somewhere between 26 and 63 percent of malpractice claims were cases of missed diagnosis, in which doctors sent patients who were seriously ill away with a clean bill of health. The most common occurrences were in instances of cancers and heart attacks. These conditions are difficult for doctors to diagnose, and are often falsely reported by patients. Other missed diagnoses were for appendicitis, bone fractures and ectopic pregnancy in adults, and meningitis and cancers in children.
The problem of missed diagnosis is especially serious when it comes to cancer. In some cases, patients may ignore their symptoms after being told by a doctor that they don’t have cancer. This inaction turns what was once a treatable tumor into a life-threatening situation.
Still, some of these issues are simply too hard to diagnose early — and in some cases, doctors might not want to submit a patient to too many tests, which can be expensive and stressful on the body. Thus, medical professionals advise keeping a close watch on your body. If a doctor tells you a lump is currently benign, it’s imperative to keep an eye on it and report any changes.
In the event of a missed diagnosis, a medical malpractice claim could be a possibility. Plaintiffs must first prove that there was a doctor-patient relationship, and that the doctor not only failed to provide competent treatment, but also that the doctor’s negligence resulted in actual harm to the patient.
To learn more about missed diagnoses and your options for a potential injury claim, consult a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney in the Charlottesville area.
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