Surgical mistakes, “never events” and emergency room errors may seem to be the worst offenders in the medical malpractice category, but a new study suggests otherwise. Published online in BMJ Quality and Safety, the study reveals that, over the last 25 years, misdiagnosis was the most common and costly medical malpractice claim.
There are 3 types of misdiagnosis: missed diagnosis, wrong diagnosis and delayed diagnosis. The result is inevitably incorrect treatment. This can be particularly damaging in the cases of cancer, heart disease and stroke. It can lead to the progression of the actual illness, resulting in permanent injury or even death. That misdiagnosis is so common is alarming for anyone who puts their faith in the hands of medical professionals.
- Provide honest information. When your doctor asks you a question, answer it in full with complete honesty, even if it is embarrassing.
- Ask questions. If you are not comfortable with a diagnosis — and even if you are — ask your doctor if there are any other possible diagnoses. Do not end the conversation until you know why you were diagnosed with one condition and not another.
- Volunteer relevant information. Diagnosis is as much an art as it is science, and it depends on doctors looking in the right places for the right clues. If something is bothering you, but the doctor does not ask about it, tell them anyway.
- Get a second opinion. If you are still uncomfortable with the level of care you receive from one doctor, go to another. A new perspective could identify a piece of the puzzle that leads to the correct outcome, the right diagnosis.
Misdiagnosis and Malpractice
Clearly there is a rampant problem within the medical field: over the last 25 years, 350,000 victims have received malpractice settlements because of injury due to misdiagnosis. The frightening truth is that this only represents a portion of the number of people injured by misdiagnosis. The rest either remain silent or fail to obtain compensation in court.
While misdiagnosis is not necessarily malpractice, Washington law protects the patient in cases in which injury is occurred due to a breach in the standard of care.
If you or a loved one was injured, or if you have lost a loved one, due to a misdiagnosis, please contact us immediately for a free consultation. Perey Law Group is dedicated to seeking justice and experienced in getting compensation for those injured by medical malpractice.