Claiming for medical misdiagnosis

clip_image002Medical misdiagnosis is a type of medical or clinical negligence. Medical misdiagnosis means that a medical professional has made a mistake, which can potentially have devastating impacts on people’s lives.

There are three key types of medical misdiagnosis; where a condition is incorrectly diagnosed, diagnosed late, or completely undiagnosed.

An example of a condition being completely undiagnosed would be a patient visiting their GP complaining of health problems and displaying certain symptoms over a period of time and that GP failing to diagnose the illness.

An example of a late diagnosis would be a doctor correctly diagnosing a condition several weeks or months after the patient first went to them complaining of the ailment, and having missed the opportunity to diagnose it earlier, finding that the condition has gotten worse or spread.

An example of a condition being incorrectly diagnosed would be a patient visiting their GP with stomach pains and being told they have an intolerance to a certain food which is irritating their bowel, whereas in fact finding out at a later date that they have bowel cancer, and that because of the amount of time that has passed it has now spread to other parts of the body, or is inoperable.

Of course, most people tend to think of misdiagnosis as a medical professional not spotting a severe illness and thinking it is something less, but it could be the complete opposite. For example, a person being told that they have cancer, an operation being carried out as a result (perhaps to remove an organ) or treatment applied (such as chemotherapy), and then finding out that in fact they don’t. Of course, it doesn’t have to be as serious as that – it could just be that a patient has an illness, the doctor thinks it is a certain illness and prescribes some drugs incorrectly which either fail to make the patient better or in fact make them worse.

Some of the most common types of misdiagnosis involve the misdiagnosis of bowel cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, diabetes, meningitis, appendicitis, infections, strokes, and fractures (where, for example, fractures are misdiagnosed as sprains).

There can be a number of reasons for misdiagnosis. Often it is the case that a condition is misdiagnosed because the symptoms could indicate a number of different illnesses. However, it could be that your GP simply dismissed your concerns without investigating thoroughly. Or they may have misread, misreported or misinterpreted your scans, tests or smears.

As with all clinical or medical negligence claims, the treatment received or not received has to have caused further injury, pain or suffering above and beyond what you had already received. So, if you were told by a hospital that you had sprained your ankle, but then they discovered a couple of days later that they had misdiagnosed you and that in fact there was a fracture, you could only make a claim if you could prove that what you had been told had led you to act in such a way (e.g. continuing to walk on it) as to make the fracture worse.

If you believe that you have been the victim of misdiagnosis or any other type of medical or clinical negligence then please have a read of our “guide to clinical and medical negligence” which provides more information about making a claim, or give us a call on 01782 713 755. We offer a personal service and will meet with you, go through your records and discuss with you face to face the strengths and weaknesses of your claim. We will help you decide whether or not you should proceed with a claim. Pursuing a claim can be extremely complicated and there are time limits involved so it is important to speak to us as soon as you can.

Agree? Disagree? Do let Cooks Solicitors know what you think by commenting below.

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