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Misdiagnoses and Why Your Doctor Should Be Careful

Published January 25, 2013 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

One of the main reasons we visit doctors and place our trust in them when we are sick or injured is due to their ability to diagnose what illness or specific type of injury we are suffering from. There is a huge variety of illnesses and ways in which people can be harmed, making the ability to accurately diagnose a person critically important. As such, doctors are required to go to school and engage in extensive training in order to have as much experience and knowledge as possible so they can make accurate and well-informed diagnoses.

Unfortunately, however, there are many times when a doctor fails to adequately use the knowledge and tools at their disposal or does not follow proper procedures, causing them to misdiagnose a patient. Although doctors and other medical professionals are not always to blame for making an incorrect diagnosis, especially as many illnesses and injuries are difficult, if not impossible, to diagnose immediately, they are held responsible for any diagnostic errors that occur due to their negligence. Typically, if it can be proven that a “reasonable” medical professional under similar circumstances could and would have made a correct diagnosis, the medical professional responsible for the misdiagnosis may be held accountable for any ensuing complications and side effects by a medical malpractice lawyer in a legal claim.

Being able to hold these professionals accountable in medical malpractice claims is especially important as it allows patients who have been misdiagnosed to pursue compensation and justice for the harm they have suffered as a result. In a situation where the misdiagnosis caused permanent physical harm, dramatically increased financial burdens, or resulted in disability or death, a patient and their family may be dramatically affected. Thus, doctors should be especially careful when diagnosing a patient and do everything they can to make an accurate and informed diagnosis.

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