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rockford medical malpractice lawyerProviding medical care and treatment to a patient in need is a task that requires not only extensive knowledge and skills, but also attention to detail. Even minor deviations from a patient’s treatment plan can cause serious harm. When those deviations result from negligence on the part of a treatment provider, the patient can claim medical malpractice and pursue damages from the at-fault party. One common form of medical negligence is an error related to the patient’s medication.

Negligent Parties in a Medical Malpractice Claim

Depending on the situation, many different parties may be responsible for ensuring that a patient gets the appropriate medication for their condition. An error by any of these parties could be grounds for a medical malpractice claim. Some potentially negligent parties include:

  • A doctor who prescribes the medication - There are many opportunities for error when writing a prescription. For example, a doctor could prescribe the wrong dosage or the wrong medication altogether, perhaps due to a misdiagnosis or a careless mistake.

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Rockford misdiagnosis attorneysMedical professionals attend years of rigorous schooling before they are licensed to practice medicine. They learn about thousands of medical conditions and the signs and symptoms of those conditions so that they can properly diagnose patients. However, doctors cannot always provide an immediate diagnosis. If a doctor fails to provide a diagnosis or misdiagnoses a patient, is he or she guilty of medical negligence? Does the patient have a right to compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit? As with most personal injury matters, the answer depends on a variety of factors.

Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis of an Illness, Disease, or Other Medical Condition  

When we visit a doctor or medical specialist, we expect to receive answers. We need to know what condition is ailing us so that we can get the proper treatment. In many cases, the sooner a patient can start receiving treatment, the greater his or her chance of recovery. This is especially true of illnesses like cancer and heart disease. If a doctor does not diagnose a patient or diagnoses the patient with the wrong condition, that patient will not receive the potentially life-save medical care he or she needs.

Elements of Medical Malpractice

A doctor or other medical worker is not automatically guilty of medical malpractice if he or she fails to diagnose a patient’s condition properly. Malpractice occurs when the following components are present:

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Winnebago County medical negligence attorney misdiagnosis

Unfortunately, a high number of patients each year suffer from unexplained symptoms and inaccurate diagnoses. Patients often forget that despite the responsibility that medical professionals are given, they do make unintentional mistakes from time to time. While this may be acceptable in other professional fields, a seemingly minor mixup from a nurse, doctor, or other medical professionals can be deadly. If you have been a victim of medical malpractice, it is pertinent that you seek legal help immediately. This timeliness will allow you to make an accurate claim and receive deserved compensation to cover any impending medical bills, time lost at work, or other financial obligations.

Which Claim Can I Pursue?

All lawsuits concerning healthcare discrepancies fall under the large legal umbrella of medical malpractice. However, you and your attorney will need to pinpoint which type of issue you are dealing with. Two common cases that legal professionals handle are victims of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis. Although the terms are similar, the details of your case will dictate which one to pursue.

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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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