What is a Medical Misdiagnosis?
Learn More From Our New York Medical Malpractice Attorneys
When doctors and other medical care providers take care of patients, they have a duty to not only provide standard treatment but to exercise due diligence in diagnosing patients' conditions in the first place. After all, only a proper diagnosis will lead to a patient receiving the right treatment. When this standard of care is followed, serious medical conditions can be caught before they progress and become fatal. When the duty to follow this standard of care is breached, serious conditions can go undiagnosed and lead to consequences such as stroke, heart attack or even death. When this happens, victims deserve compensation for their medical expenses, loss of wages, and pain and suffering.
If you were misdiagnosed by a medical care provider, an attorney can provide you with helpful information about your options and legal rights. At Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, LLP, we are committed to providing aggressive and personalized legal representation to help injured patients and their families recover financial compensation from at-fault parties. We represent clients across New York from our headquarters in the Empire State Building in Lower Manhattan and additional office locations throughout the state.
Negligence and an Incorrect Diagnosis
A medical misdiagnosis may be caused by negligence, when a doctor, nurse practitioner or other healthcare professional fails to act with proper caution or care. For example, a medical technician may improperly administer an MRI or CAT scan. A doctor may misinterpret the results of these or other diagnostic tests, or may fail to order additional tests to accurately diagnose a patient's condition. Whatever its cause, a misdiagnosis can have serious consequences, and it is the patient who pays the price.
The Risks of Misdiagnosis
When a patient's medical condition is misdiagnosed, treatment may be delayed. This can prove deadly – in a matter of minutes – for a patient who is suffering from a heart attack, stroke or aneurism. Delayed treatment for progressive diseases such as cancer can also cost a patient his or her life. On the other hand, if a patient is misdiagnosed with cancer when he or she is actually suffering from a less serious condition, this can have disastrous results. The patient may undergo chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These aggressive treatments destroy healthy cells along with cancer cells and can cause severe or even fatal side effects in an otherwise healthy patient.
While any serious medical condition can be misdiagnosed, there are some conditions that are more commonly misdiagnosed than others. Several forms of cancer that are commonly misdiagnosed include breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer and testicular cancer. Strokes and heart attacks can also be misdiagnosed if a patient is not being cared for properly. Other examples of medical conditions that are commonly misdiagnosed include tuberculosis, diabetes, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung), appendicitis and bacterial meningitis.
Some may think that the misdiagnosis of a condition is immediate grounds for a medical malpractice suit. This is not so. Doctors cannot be expected to immediate diagnose every single medical condition they encounter. There are thousands upon thousands of different illnesses, diseases and injuries that a patient may suffer from. Doctors must use their knowledge, training and experience and take care to make a diagnosis based upon the information and resources available. This may include ordering additional tests or referring a patient to a specialist if the condition is outside of the doctor's area of specialty. Only a misdiagnosis resulting from negligence or wrongdoing would provide sufficient grounds for a lawsuit. Because these cases are complex and technical in nature, you may find it helpful to work with an attorney who is experienced with medical misdiagnoses.
Helping Injured Patients in New York
We understand that dealing with a medical misdiagnosis can be difficult physically and emotionally. At Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik, LLP, we can work with you to determine the best course of action to pursue in handling your medical malpractice case. Our attorneys and staff members will work with you at every step of your case to ensure that you understand what is happening and how it can affect the outcome of your case. We are familiar with medical malpractice lawsuits and those in New York in particular. With our long history of representing injured New Yorkers and their families (including more than $3 billion in verdicts and settlements since 2000 alone), we know we have what it takes to meet with success even in these difficult cases.
Contact our firm today to find out how we can help you with this important matter.