The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

Misdiagnosis continues to rank high among malpractice claims

Whether you are the kind of person who seeks a medical opinion as soon as you sense something is wrong, or you prefer to monitor your symptoms, try home remedies and go to the doctor as a last resort, you may expect to obtain educated and sound advice from a medical professional. If your symptoms are serious or worrisome, you may feel there is more at stake.

Unfortunately, if your symptoms do not point to an easy diagnosis, you may find yourself suffering needlessly, taking unnecessary or destructive medication, or undergoing ill-advised procedures. In fact, over one third of all medical malpractice cases stem from a wrong diagnosis, and 65% of those cases result in the death or disabling injury of the patient. If you or a loved one is the victim of a wrong diagnosis, you are likely exploring your legal options.

Where do most errors occur?

While it is understandable that a doctor may not know every symptom of every ailment, some of the most frequently misdiagnosed conditions are also among the most common. Cancer, heart attack, stroke and infection account for almost 75% of missed diagnoses, whether in clinics, emergency rooms or inpatient settings. You may find some comfort in knowing that the medical community is testing new ways to improve the diagnostic process, including focusing on these key areas:

  • Taking complete patient and family history
  • Conducting a thorough physical examination
  • Deciding which diagnostic tests to perform
  • Continuing to evaluate the condition of the patient throughout the diagnostic process
  • Checking on patients left waiting for treatment in hospital waiting rooms
  • Providing more complete patient information during the transition between caregivers

If you or a loved one suffered complications because of a breakdown in any of these or other areas, there may have been a domino effect, leading to a serious decline in your condition. While a hospital, emergency room or doctor's office can be a busy place, if medical professionals skip steps in diagnostic protocol, you are the one who suffers.

What can you do now?

When doctors miss a diagnosis or provide you with the wrong opinion of your condition, you may waste precious time with useless treatments while your condition worsens. Cancer continues to grow, an infection spreads or your heart muscles rapidly deteriorate. This can lead to life-threatening or life-changing complications.

A misdiagnosis can leave you suffering or mourning the loss of a loved one, but you have the right to reach out for guidance. A skilled Pennsylvania attorney can evaluate your situation and advise you on the most appropriate actions to take to seek justice.

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