Most medical professionals accurately gauge a patient’s condition based on their symptoms. On rare occasions, though, their diagnosis misses the mark. The consequences are sometimes minor, but they can often prove grave if not caught right away.
You may have experienced suffering after a doctor misdiagnosed your condition. In this case, it’s important to understand what rights you have in the aftermath.
The prevalence of misdiagnosis
Misdiagnosis is one of the most common forms of medical malpractice. In the United States, between 10 and 30% of adults have a condition misdiagnosed each year. And 28% of these patients risk permanent disability or death due to their misdiagnosis. Many patients with misdiagnosed conditions go on to make a full recovery. But those with cancer, infections and vascular issues run a higher risk of disability or fatality.
When misdiagnosis causes harm
If your doctor’s misdiagnosis fails to harm you, the options for recourse remain limited. But their misdiagnosis may cause you harm and increase your risk of complications or death. In this case, you can file a suit against your practitioner. Yet, the doctor’s misdiagnosis of your condition may not be their fault. Pathologists may misreport the results of a test or technicians may misinterpret a scan. It’s important to know where the error that led to your misdiagnosis occurred. Then, you can pursue a claim against the proper party.
Doctors must do their best to prevent misdiagnosis. But you, as a patient, have the right to question them if you’re dissatisfied with their conclusions. Clear communication and follow-up visits with your doctor can ensure you receive a proper diagnosis. If you still feel your doctor has an inaccurate read on your health, you have the duty to seek a second opinion from another medical professional. Doing so protects both your health and your ability to pursue claims against your doctor in case their misdiagnosis harms you.