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Winnebago County misdiagnosis lawyersWhen medical symptoms interfere with our ability to go about our lives normally, we go to the doctor to receive a diagnosis and treatment. Although no one expects doctors to instantly know exactly what is wrong, we generally trust that when we receive a diagnosis, it is the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is common. According to one study, a shocking 12 million adults are misdiagnosed every year in the United States. Being misdiagnosed can cause a person to suffer through unneeded or even harmful medical procedures and medication regimens all while missing out on the treatment that is actually needed. If you have received an inaccurate diagnosis from a doctor, you may have a valid medical malpractice claim.

Commonly Misdiagnosed Medical Concerns

It is estimated that one out of every 20 patients who receive a medical diagnosis at a hospital, outpatient clinic, or doctor’s office receives an inaccurate diagnosis. Research shows that about one half of these misdiagnoses have the potential to cause severe harm to the patient. Some of the most commonly misdiagnosed medical conditions include:

  • Cancer including breast cancer, lymphoma, sarcomas and melanoma
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Thyroid disease
  • Depression
  • Celiac Disease

Consequences of a Misdiagnosis

One of the most serious concerns when a patient receives a misdiagnosis is that he or she will be subject to unnecessary medical treatments. Some medical treatments, such as radiation and chemotherapy, are extremely hard on the body. Certain medications can also have an extremely adverse effect on the body if the person receiving the medication does not actually have the condition the medication is designed to treat. In addition to receiving superfluous treatments, a misdiagnosed person may not receive the treatment he or she actually needs which can cause the condition to worsen. The medical bills associated with these unneeded treatments can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

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Winnebago County medical malpractice lawyersWhen most of us visit a doctor or other medical professional to address a health concern, we trust that he or she knows what they are doing and will be able to help. Understandably, doctors do not always immediately know what aliment is causing their patient to suffer. However, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals have a duty to treat patients to the best of their ability. When a negligent medical professional misdiagnoses a patient and the resultant medical treatment (or lack of treatment) causes the patient harm, a medical malpractice suit may be appropriate.

Diagnostic Errors Are One of the Most Common Causes for Medical Malpractice Claims

The law does not expect doctors to be perfect. Many times, a patient suffers from a complex array of conditions which may be challenging to identify and treat. Doctors and other medical professionals are not held legally responsible for every diagnostic error they make. However, when carelessness or negligence causes a patient harm, doctors should be held accountable. A successful medical malpractice suit includes the following elements:

  • An established doctor-patient relationship;
  • The doctor or other health care worker was negligent; and
  • The negligent party’s actions caused actual injury to the patient.

Understanding When a Doctor is Negligent

Negligence can be tricky to understand in the context of a medical malpractice suit. A misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis itself may be a mistake on the part of the health worker, but not necessarily evidence of negligence. Generally, a medical professional is negligent when he or she not provide treatment in a reasonably skilled and competent way. When deciding if a medical professional was negligent or not, courts may invite other similarly trained or experienced professionals to weigh in on the matters. If most medical professionals of similar expertise would have made a different decision than the medical professional accused of malpractice made, it is likely he or she will be considered negligent.

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