Some of the most common medical malpractice lawsuits involve a provider’s failure to diagnose a patient properly. When patients seek medical help, they trust that their healthcare providers will perform the necessary steps to determine what is causing their symptoms and ultimately provide the proper treatment. Needless to say, patients expect to receive the highest level of care. In this same vein, doctors are expected, and even trained, to make the proper decisions when the time comes to make a diagnosis or recommend the appropriate treatment.
Unfortunately, misdiagnoses happen all too often. A misdiagnosis can lead a patient down the wrong treatment plan or without any treatment plan at all. Failing to properly diagnose a patient prevents doctors and medical staff from providing the proper treatment, which often can lead to further injury or sometimes even death.
In 2009, a healthy and active middle-aged woman in Texas underwent a mastectomy to remove a benign breast tumor. Just one month later, she was given the horrific news that every woman fears: she had stage IV breast cancer. Once she was able to accept this devastating news, she began to give away her belongings, start treatment, and arrange for own home care. The treatment endured for seven long months. As a result of the stress and difficulties associated with the diagnosis and treatment, the patient developed anxiety. In 2011, the patient visited a medical center for treatment of her anxiety. Doctors performed several tests and scans that routinely are administered to cancer patients experiencing anxiety. At that time, they suspected that something was wrong. Subsequent testing at another medical center later confirmed those suspicions: the patient’s previous cancer diagnosis was wrong. The tests revealed that the patient had been cancer-free since her mastectomy earlier in 2009. Fortunately for the patient, the original doctor who made the diagnosis read her PET/CT scan incorrectly.
Unfortunately, however, the patient was forced through numerous rounds of painful and unnecessary treatment, not to mention the wasted dollars on substantial medical expenses, sold personal belongings, and severe emotional suffering. In 2013, the patient filed a medical malpractice suit against the physician who had misdiagnosed her. A Texas jury later awarded her more than $300,000 in damages to compensate for her injuries and pain and suffering. A copy of the article regarding the medical malpractice case can be found here.
This medical malpractice case illustrates the fact that medical negligence can take many forms – whether it be emotionally, physically, or mentally. Regardless of the form, when a misdiagnosis or any sort of medical error or mistake harms an individual, these victims may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. No matter how small the error or resulting injury may be, these medical mistakes cannot be overlooked. Our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Silverman, Thompson, Slutkin & White successfully have represented dozens of patients and families who have suffered injury or loss as a result of a physician’s medical negligence. We are committed to patients in the most difficult of cases, and are here to help you if you believe you are the victim of medical malpractice.