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Medical Misdiagnosis

The wrong diagnosis or a failure to diagnose is medical malpractice

A common form of medical mistakes is the misdiagnosis of symptoms or the failure to diagnose a medical condition. When symptoms or warning signs are present, it is usually critical to the patient's health that a doctor recognize these symptoms and make a timely diagnosis. Patients can suffer for years when an illness is misdiagnosed.

Misdiagnosis can lead to the wrong drugs prescribed, the wrong treatment, or a treatment that actually makes the patients' condition worse. A medical misdiagnosis means that the actual illness is left untreated, which can cause serious injuries or even wrongful death.

Medical misdiagnosis can occur when doctors fail to give their full attention to the patients. If they fail to recognize the complaints of their patients, the results can lead to severe injuries. If any injury resulting from a medical misdiagnosis could have been prevented, the patient could have a viable medical malpractice lawsuit. Some of the most common forms of medical misdiagnosis are listed below.

Misdiagnosis of Cancer

With so many technological advances in the medical field, the sooner cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances for a full recovery. When cancer is misdiagnosed, it means there is no treatment. If cancer is diagnosed at a later date, it's possible it could be too late for effective treatment. Cancer misdiagnosis can result in the need for painful, extensive treatments that may not have been necessary, had it been diagnosed at an earlier stage. Breast cancer, skin cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, testicular cancer, and other forms of cancer get worse with time, without treatment. There are many reasons why cancer is misdiagnosed or diagnosed much later than it should be, including:

  • Failure to correctly interpret or recognize the symptoms reported by the patient
  • Failure to perform prostate exams, cervical exams, mammograms, at the correct time intervals
  • Failure to recognize visible cancer cells during an exam for skin cancer
  • Failure to perform biopsies of abnormal tissue
  • Failure to correctly interpret diagnostic test results and recognize a malignant tumor
  • Failure to quickly respond to abnormal test results and start necessary treatment

Stroke Misdiagnosis

When medical personnel fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke or fail to run necessary tests, and the patient sustains a serious injury or death, the patient could file a medical malpractice or negligence lawsuit. The sooner a stroke is diagnosed, the sooner proper treatment can begin, and the better the chance of a full recovery. A stroke will block the blood supply that carries oxygen to the brain. If the brain suffers from a lack of oxygen for an extended period of time, this can cause permanent brain and nerve damage. However, a quick stroke diagnosis and early treatment with clot-busting drugs can restore the blood flow to the brain. Stroke misdiagnosis can cause long-term or even permanent injuries. Failure to recognize the symptoms and properly diagnose a stroke is medical negligence. Some of the effects of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis or weakness on one side of their body
  • Diminished ability to speak or understand speech
  • Diminished mental capacity
  • Loss or diminished motor skills
  • Loss or diminished senses

Heart Attack Misdiagnosis

A heart attack misdiagnosis means that a patient will not receive the immediate care needed. In many cases, a doctor will simply dismiss the symptoms as anxiety or digestion issues. The consequences could lead to permanent damage to the heart or even wrongful death. When heart attack symptoms are reported by a patient, medical personnel should immediately administer tests and treatments to avoid serious injuries or death. These tests include electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, coronary artery disease tests, cardiac enzyme tests, stress tests, and angiograms. Common heart attack symptoms include:

  • Chest pain that feels like a burning sensation
  • Fainting or lightheadedness
  • Arm, back or shoulder pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

Infection Misdiagnosis

Medical professionals understand that some type of infections can kill a patient if they are not properly diagnosed and treated immediately. When they fail to diagnose a serious infection that causes a catastrophic injury or wrongful death, the patient could have a viable medical malpractice or negligence claim. An example of an infection misdiagnoses include bedsore infections in a nursing home resident. If this infection is ignored, it can result in amputation or wrongful death. Another example could include a doctor who properly diagnoses an infection, but prescribes the wrong antibiotic, that causes the patient's death. Any victim of infection misdiagnoses which leads to negligent treatment has the legal right to seek monetary compensation for:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain, suffering, disability and disfigurement
  • Bodily Injuries

Meningitis Misdiagnosis

Meningitis normally strikes younger patients and requires a quick and decisive response by medical professionals. Bacterial meningitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord and brain that is a fast-developing and life-threatening disease. In many cases, meningitis symptoms are dismissed as the flu. Viral meningitis is less dangerous, but tests must be done quickly and treatment started immediately for bacterial meningitis. Symptoms of meningitis include a high fever, headache, and a stiff neck. If a medical professional misdiagnoses the case as the flu, life-saving treatment will not be given. A meningitis patient needs immediate medication and care. The disease acts rapidly, and death can sometimes occur within hours.

Contact a Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney

If you believe that you or a member of your family has been the victim of a misdiagnosis that led to a serious injury or death, contact the medical misdiagnosis lawyers at the Law Offices of Dr. Bruce Fagel & Associates. We can discuss the details of your medical misdiagnosis case during a free case evaluation and determine the best course of legal action to take.

Our medical misdiagnosis attorneys have years of experience handling complex medical malpractice lawsuits. If you have a viable claim, we have the resources to fight for your recovery and protect your financial interests. Dr. Bruce Fagel is not only a skilled medical malpractice attorney, but also a licensed physician. He has successfully handled more medical malpractice cases than any other attorney in California. This gives him a distinct edge in the medical malpractice cases he pursues, because he is able to easily recognize medical malpractice. There are no fees or expenses unless we obtain a recovery. Every claim for medical malpractice has a time limit within which the lawsuit must be filed, known as the Statute of Limitations. Time may be running out on your claim, so you should have any potential claim reviewed as soon as possible to make sure your family is protected.

This resource page is provided by Dr. Bruce Fagel for your information. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation.