Delayed Diagnosis or Misdiagnosis of Illness

delayed misdiagnosis of illness

We all rely on the expertise of doctors, radiologists and other medical professionals to properly diagnose health conditions and illnesses and to then provide appropriate treatment. While diagnosis of a disease can be as much an art as a science, we expect doctors to follow standards of care and to order appropriate medical tests based on our symptoms. However, when doctors neglect established diagnostic protocol or ignore certain symptoms, a patient’s condition may worsen. For certain diseases, like cancer, a misdiagnosis often delays crucial, life-saving treatment until it is too late.

If you have suffered a serious injury or a loved one has died due to delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of disease, the medical malpractice attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., offer a free initial consultation to discuss your options. We have the resources necessary to fully investigate your case. We also work with medical experts who can help determine the extent of the harm caused by medical negligence. In one case, our client suffered permanent spinal cord injury as a result of an undiagnosed spinal abscess. Our attorneys obtained a $14 million settlement for our client, which helped guarantee a good quality of life after the injury.

What is the Difference Between a Delayed Diagnosis and a Misdiagnosis?

delayed diagnosis most commonly occurs when a doctor fails to recognize the symptoms of an illness or health condition. Often, a patient is sent home without treatment, which allows the disease to progress. Alternatively, a misdiagnosis happens when a doctor mistakes the symptoms of one condition for another, often less serious, illness. This results in the delayed diagnosis of the actual condition, as well as unnecessary treatment of a nonexistent illness. This treatment may cause additional harm or lead to the worsening of the true disease.

The delayed diagnosis of any illness can cause worse symptoms and prolonged recovery times. However, some illnesses can cause much more damage than others if left undiagnosed. Common examples of illnesses that can cause permanent, catastrophic injuries or wrongful death due to delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis include:

  • Infections
  • Heart attack
  • Cancer
  • Meningitis
  • Spinal Cord Abscess
  • Stroke
  • Distress or complications during pregnancy or labor and delivery

The failure to diagnose any of these conditions can result in much more serious and life threatening complications. For example, a cancer misdiagnosis can allow the disease to spread until treatment, which could add years or decades to a cancer patient’s life, is no longer effective, resulting in wrongful death. On the other hand, failure to diagnose distress during pregnancy or labor and delivery can cause birth injuries to the child as well as the mother. This often results in permanent disabilities for the child, such as cerebral palsy from a brain injury.

Is Misdiagnosis Always Medical Malpractice?

A misdiagnosis alone does not meet the requirements for a medical malpractice case. In order for a delayed or incorrect diagnosis to be considered malpractice, you and your attorney must be able to prove that your doctor was negligent. This means that your doctor did not provide the same care that another, qualified doctor would have. If you can prove medical negligence, you must then show that the diagnostic error caused actual harm and material damages.

Due to these requirements, medical malpractice cases involve medical experts, who understand and can explain standards of care. These experts help determine what went wrong, and what would have happened if the doctor had made the correct diagnosis in a timely manner. If your misdiagnosis was in fact medical malpractice, you could recover the cost of your additional medical bills and other damages. If the misdiagnosis caused a permanent, preventable disability, our lawyers can help you seek compensation for pain and suffering as well as future costs and lost wages.

Misdiagnosed and Injured? Call Our Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Attorneys Today

In many cases, simple tests can result in the diagnosis of a serious illness early enough to treat it successfully. However, if a doctor overlooks recognizable symptoms and fails to order an appropriate test, the illness may worsen. If you sustained injuries or lost a loved one as a result of a misdiagnosis, our medical malpractice attorneys can help. We will investigate the damage caused by the failure to diagnose your condition. However, we will also consider how the results of your misdiagnosis will affect your future and your family.

Contact us today to speak with our knowledgeable Philadelphia or New Jersey lawyers representing victims of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of illness. We offer free initial consultations and handle cases on a contingency fee basis. You pay us nothing unless we get results for you.