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When Does a Medical Misdiagnosis Qualify as Malpractice?

Medical Misdiagnosis MalpracticeKnowing what does and does not qualify as medical malpractice can be tricky, especially when it comes to misdiagnosed conditions. Was your doctor doing the best they could with the information they had, or should they have been able to offer a more accurate diagnosis? Whether or not your doctor acted negligently depends on a variety of factors, so the best way to determine this is often to work with a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney. Buttafuoco & Associates has successfully handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases over the years, and we may be able to help you, too. I’ll tell you more about these cases below, and if you are in need, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

The Seriousness of Medical Misdiagnosis

Recent research from Johns Hopkins University estimates that between 40,000 and 80,000 hospital deaths each year may be related to medical misdiagnosis. The vast majority of dangerous and harmful misdiagnoses were related to cancer, infections, and vascular events.

It’s important to keep in mind that even if a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose doesn’t directly lead to serious health issues, trauma, or death, it will frequently result in unnecessary medical interventions. If you are misdiagnosed, you could be subjected to unwarranted treatments, procedures, or surgeries that could seriously harm you. It could also result in you being given a prescription medication you don’t need, which harms you.

Factors Leading to Misdiagnosis

There are several common scenarios that often lead to misdiagnosis, including the following:

Issues with Patient Evaluation

Doctors are incredibly busy, but this is no excuse for missing the warning signs of a condition that could have been prevented. Still, a major cause of medical misdiagnosis is that doctors rush through patient examinations, moving too quickly to notice problems and illnesses that could be serious. On a related note, doctors often schedule insufficient time with patients and hurry to complete an exam, thus missing important information.

Doctor fatigue, or doctors who have not received sufficient training, can also result in incorrect evaluations.

If a doctor was negligent in performing their examination, and a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnosis results from it and harms the patient, the doctor could be found guilty of malpractice. If you think this happened to you, Buttafuoco & Associates may be able to help. Get in touch with our New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys for a free consultation today.

Screening and Testing Errors

Several screening and testing errors commonly lead to medical misdiagnosis. For example, if a doctor orders an incorrect test to screen for a condition, the condition may be overlooked entirely. In other cases, problems occur after test results come in: for example, misinterpreting the results.

In addition, many tests require follow-up or retesting in order to confirm or deny a condition. If the doctor fails to follow up on a condition, or to follow up with a patient about a test they have missed, a serious illness could go undiagnosed, leading to serious medical repercussions for the patient. Again, if a doctor makes screening or testing errors and the patient’s health suffers due to a misdiagnosis, the doctor could be found guilty of malpractice. It is best to consult with a medical malpractice lawyer in New Jersey if you believe this has happened to you.

Rare Conditions

In the case of a rare condition, where the doctor has never seen the illness before or has little experience with it, the doctor could completely overlook it. In an ideal world, a doctor who is uncertain about a diagnosis would encourage the patient to get a second opinion, but if a doctor instead diagnoses a patient they are unsure about, a misdiagnosis could result. This could feasibly be grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.

Patient Disclosure

A final issue that often leads to medical misdiagnosis is when a patient fails to disclose their medical history or full range of symptoms with their doctor. If any information is left out, it could lead to a misdiagnosis. In these cases, the doctor is usually not considered negligent unless additional scenarios apply.

When to Work With a Medical Malpractice Attorney

If you believe that your doctor’s negligent behavior resulted in the misdiagnosis of a condition, or a failed diagnosis of a condition, it is worth talking to a New Jersey medical malpractice attorney. A good attorney will review the details of your experience, thoroughly explain your rights, and tell you whether or not you may have a case.

Buttafuoco & Associates has been helping patients get the justice and compensation they deserve for medical misdiagnosis for over 35 years. Get in touch with Dan Buttafuoco today for a free consultation on your case at 1-800-NOW-HURT.


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