Misdiagnosing encompasses making a bad diagnosis, a late diagnosis, or not diagnosing a patient’s condition. However, proving a misdiagnosis isn’t easy—it takes research into your case, including a comprehensive review of your medical records.
The fight against medical professionals, insurance companies, and high-priced lawyers is not easy. However, it is worth it to recover the compensation you deserve—not the settlement the insurance company thinks you deserve.
The Chicago misdiagnosis lawyers at Zayed Law Offices have many years of experience handling misdiagnosed claims, late diagnoses claims, and failure to diagnose cases. They will help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact a Chicago medical malpractice lawyer today for a free case evaluation.
Causes and Contributing Factors
There are any number of factors which may increase the risk of a misdiagnosis. Many conditions produce only minor symptoms, some of which may be difficult to detect or easily confused with other diseases. Malpractice can also be a contributing factor. Physicians and other medical professionals who fail to obtain a complete medical history from their patients, those that do not order the proper tests and diagnostic procedures and even situations where doctors may be rushed and pressed for time can all lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.
Healthcare providers are often under significant stress. The long hours and detailed-nature of the work often finds even the most dedicated and fastidious care providers making mistakes. A single seemingly minor oversight can deprive medical professionals of the information and insight needed to ensure that a correct diagnosis is made. Paperwork errors, poor communication with their staff and associates or even just a minor lapse in attention can all have disastrous results. A misdiagnosis often means that proper treatment is delayed or never administered while patients who are prescribed the wrong treatments may be given medication or subject to medical procedures that may be detrimental.
Complications Associated With a Misdiagnosis
While any delay in treating a disease or condition that has the potential to progress rapidly when not properly managed can be a serious matter, there are other ways that a misdiagnosis may complicate patient care. Medications that produce unwanted side effects and those that may exacerbate an underlying condition that remains undetected can greatly compound the difficulties of making a correct diagnosis. Higher medical costs, longer recovery times and even the risk of long-term consequences to their health and overall quality of life are all common problems that may stem from an inaccurate or erroneous diagnosis.
Taking Steps to Avoid a Misdiagnosis
Patients who take a more active role in their care and treatment may have several opportunities to help minimize the risk of a misdiagnosis. Patients and their families who engage their care provider, ask questions regarding their treatment and who make ever effort to ensure that their medical provider was able to arrive at the correct diagnosis. Patients who lack a suitable advocate and those that choose to remain uninvolved in the decisions being made regarding their care and treatment could be at greater risk than they might realize.
While it is certainly possible that adopting a more active role when obtaining medical care or devising a treatment plan may be beneficial, there are still situations where a misdiagnosis may be unavoidable. Patients who have suffered complications due to being given the wrong diagnosis often require legal assistance in order to deal with the matter. Dealing with an insurance provider who may be less than cooperative or attempting to recover the funds, damages and other forms of assistance or compensation that may be owed can be all but impossible for those who are working alone.
What to Do Following a Misdiagnosis
Being provided with the wrong diagnosis is not always a situation which becomes readily apparent. Patients whose real underlying problem may escape detection and those that are subjected to medical treatments that may be of no benefit or that could actually cause them harm may suffer for years before an inaccurate diagnosis is identified. The families of patients who may have passed away due to delayed or mismanaged care may not even discover the real nature of their illness until after they have passed. Knowing how to best respond to the situation and which steps need to be taken helps to ensure that the families and victims of a misdiagnosis are able to take appropriate action.
If you have cause to suspect that you or someone close to you have been given the wrong diagnosis, then now is the time to contact a medical malpractice attorney. Formal legal representation can play a key role in determining who was at fault, assessing the extent of the damages and ensuring that efforts to obtain a successful ruling from an insurance claim or law suit are more likely to be met with success.
How Do I Know if a Chicago Doctor Misdiagnosed My Condition?
While making a correct diagnosis is a complex part of your treatment, it is not always easy to get the diagnosis correct. A misdiagnosis means that the medications and other treatments prescribed will not work. Combined with your initial illness or injury, that could cause long-term or permanent injuries.
You can help yourself by paying attention to your symptoms and understanding the diagnosis the doctor gives you. Always ask questions, especially if the diagnosis doesn’t match your symptoms. If possible, keep a journal of your symptoms and what the doctors tell you.
Common signs of misdiagnosis include:
- Your symptoms fit more than one condition. If the treatment is not working for the symptoms, your doctor may have diagnosed you with a similar condition rather than the one you have.
- The doctor rushed through your appointment and didn’t get all of the necessary information to make a proper diagnosis, including medical history, medications you are currently taking, medications you have previously taken for similar symptoms, surgical history, and your symptoms.
- The doctor did not fully diagnose you. For example, the doctor did not use all of the tools available to solidify the diagnosis. Instead, the doctor relied on a lab test instead of getting a CT scan or other test to ensure the diagnosis.
- A second opinion is different from the first. The second opinion should confirm the first. If it doesn’t, one of the doctors misdiagnosed you.
- The doctor does not refer you to a specialist.
- The treatment does not work.
Taking Legal Action in a Chicago Misdiagnosis Case
If you suspect that a doctor misdiagnosed you, contact a Chicago misdiagnosis medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. You do not have much time to take legal action against the hospital or medical professional, and your legal team uses some time to investigate your case.
You have two years from when you knew or should have known that the doctor misdiagnosed you. The key phrase is “should have known.” While you might think that you only knew about the misdiagnosis this month, the insurance company could claim that you should have known six months ago.
You’ll use up some of the time locating a Chicago misdiagnosis lawyer. The attorney spends some time investigating your case and procuring medical records. Settlement negotiations also take up some time. While you hopefully won’t have to litigate, some cases go to litigation because the insurance company refuses to come to a fair and reasonable settlement.
Case investigation includes speaking with witnesses, depositing, requesting documents and medical records, and conducting other discoveries. Depositions can take a while because of scheduling—the attorney, the deponent’s attorney, and the deponent must be available for a specific time.
Your attorney may also need expert witnesses to draft reports based on your symptoms and medical records. This can also take time, especially if the medical expert needs to see you.
A Chicago misdiagnosis lawyer will help build your case and recover the compensation you deserve, but they must have time to gather all of the information he needs.
Chicago Misdiagnosis Lawyers FAQ
You do not expect a misdiagnosis when you visit your doctor for medical care. Sadly, doctors treat patients for the wrong conditions more frequently than you might imagine. That is why we created our Chicago Misdiagnosis Lawyers FAQ. We believe you should recognize the potential for a medical misdiagnosis before it occurs. You should also know your legal rights as a medical misdiagnosis victim. For more information, contact Zayed Law Offices today.
+ Why Do Doctors Misdiagnose Patients?
You choose your doctors carefully. Of course, you want to trust them, but you must also understand that they are human and make mistakes. While your on-the-job mistakes sometimes cause inconvenience, your doctor’s mistakes often cause pain and suffering. They sometimes delay the healing process that could have made you well.
While medical researchers and experts agree that misdiagnosis occurs far too frequently, they cannot always reach a consensus as to why. Many studies have focused on this question. A JAMA Network Internal Medicine report, “Diagnostic Error in Medicine,” calls misdiagnosis a “frequent and underappreciated cause of patient injury.” Researchers sent surveys to medical professionals and evaluated responses about misdiagnosis events.
Researchers mined data from thousands of PubMed abstracts and reports for the report, Mining Misdiagnosis Patterns from Biomedical Literature. After studying the data, they documented the reasons for misdiagnosis issues.
These and other studies share multiple reasons why doctors misdiagnose patients.
- Multiple Breakdowns in the Diagnostic Process: This includes issues with laboratory and radiology testing (ordering, performance, and processing).
- Limited Time and Information: Physicians often diagnose conditions quickly and without enough information.
- Overconfidence: The American Journal of Medicine report, “Overconfidence as a Cause of Diagnostic Error in Medicine,” describes how a doctor’s arrogance sometimes contributes to adverse diagnostic outcomes.
- Aversion to Risk: The study “Are Doctors Risk Takers” determined that doctors’ willingness to take risks affects their diagnostic and treatment abilities. Risk aversion is often related to a doctor’s age, specialty, and gender. For example, surgeons and anesthesiologists are more willing to assume risks for their patients than other medical professionals.
- Unaware of Their Mistake: Some medical professionals remain unaware that they made a mistake until an autopsy or other formal process confirms it.
- Cognitive Biases and Personality Issues: Researchers found an association between biases and diagnostic inaccuracies. The American Medical Association determined that four cognitive biases affect how a physician gathers and interprets evidence, takes action, and evaluates decisions.
- Confirmation bias: taking actions that conform with their existing beliefs. Ignoring contradictory information.
- Anchoring bias: Prioritizing data to support an initial (possibly incorrect) impression.
- Affect heuristic: Actions affected by emotional reactions.
- Outcomes bias: Belief that a (good or bad) clinical outcome resulted from a prior decision.
- A British Medical Journal article, “Frequency of diagnostic errors in outpatient care,” focuses on the mechanics of a misdiagnosis instead of why it occurred. Researchers evaluated data from three studies of clinic-based populations. They identified misdiagnosis based on patient triggers: unexpected return visits, worsening of a chronic condition, hospitalization within 14 days of a medical appointment, and unscheduled follow-up visits.
+ What Are the Most Frequently Misdiagnosed Conditions?
Doctors consistently misdiagnose the same or similar conditions.
Research also varies here, with variations depending on the patient’s age.
- Lung, colon, and breast cancers
- Pulmonary Embolism
- Drug Overdose or Poisoning
- Acute coronary syndrome: myocardial infarction, stroke
- Surgical Emergencies: Fractures, abscesses, aortic aneurysm, acute appendicitis, spinal cord compression
+ How Often Do Doctors Misdiagnose Patients?
Studies have found surprisingly high misdiagnosis rates based on years of research using varying methods.
- A JAMA Internal Medicine study estimates a 10 percent to 15 percent overall patient misdiagnosis rate.
- A BMJ Quality and Safety Journal study found a span of misdiagnosis rates when examining different bodies of information.
- Autopsy Studies: 10 to 20 percent of autopsies studied showed diagnosis discrepancies.
- Patient Surveys: In “secret shopper” scenarios, patients received inaccurate diagnoses for real and contrived illnesses. The diagnosis error rate of 13 percent to 15 percent was consistent with other studies.
- Malpractice Claim Databases: A BMJ review of claim and practitioner databases determined that misdiagnosis was the basis for 29 percent of insurer-paid and self-insured paid malpractice claims.
- Data Mining Study: The study based on mined PubMed data estimates that 12 million American adults deal with misdiagnosis issues yearly.
+ Can I Sue My Doctor For a Misdiagnosis?
Under Illinois’s Compiled Statutes, you have a legal right to file a malpractice lawsuit based on negligence or breach of contract. Before you file your suit, you must find a medical professional who agrees with your allegations. When your attorney files your complaint, the documents must include a copy of your medical expert’s affidavit supporting your case.
The affidavit must meet the state’s statutory guidelines.
- Your medical professional must demonstrate knowledge about the relevant medical issues.
- The expert must be a health professional who has practiced or taught for at least six years. Their expertise must be in the same area as the defendant named in your lawsuit.
- Your expert’s professional license must comply with statutory guidelines. Their qualifying medical experience must demonstrate competence that is related to your allegations.
- Your expert must have reviewed your medical records and found your allegations “reasonable and meritorious.”
+ How Much Time Do I Have to File a Misdiagnosis In Illinois?
Based on Illinois Compiled Statutes, your Chicago misdiagnosis lawyer has a two to four-year window to file a suit for your misdiagnosis claim. Your filing period begins running at the point where you know or should have known that your doctor misdiagnosed your medical condition.
Illinois’s malpractice statute of limitations includes several possible exceptions.
- You have up to eight years to file a suit if you were under age 18 when your healthcare provider misdiagnosed your condition. After you reach 18, you must file your lawsuit before you turn 22.
- If you are legally disabled, your statute of limitations does not run until your disability is removed.
- If you become disabled after your doctor misdiagnoses you, the disability exception applies.
To ensure that you avoid Illinois statute of limitations complications, you should take immediate action. Consult a Chicago misdiagnosis lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can explain your statute of limitations and other complex malpractice legal issues. Lawyers take steps to protect your legal rights and determine if you have a valid case.
+ Do You Need a Chicago Misdiagnosis Malpractice Lawyer?
Yes. Never try to handle a misdiagnosis case on your own. Medical malpractice lawsuits are far more complicated than traditional negligence cases. A seasoned Chicago misdiagnosis lawyer understands the court’s requirements for presenting a valid case. When you establish a working relationship with an attorney, they review your medical records and determine your chance of recovering compensation.
You learn more about your legal options when you schedule a legal consultation with a personal injury attorney, like those at Zayed Law Offices. Once you discuss your medical issues with a legal representative, you can decide if you want to move forward with your lawsuit. Contact Zayed Law Offices today to get started.
Contact a Chicago Misdiagnosis Attorney From Zayed Law Offices
Because of the complexity of Chicago misdiagnosis cases, you need to ensure that the attorney you choose has experience handling these cases. The medical malpractice attorneys at Zayed Law Offices have the experience handling misdiagnoses, failed diagnoses, and late diagnoses cases.