Proper diagnosis is vital to a patient's outcome. Oftentimes, patients are diagnosed with the wrong condition, and the treatment they were given actually worsens the true underlying condition. In the meantime, they are also not being treated for their true underlying condition. Improper diagnosis may result from failing to appreciate signs and symptoms, failing to order proper tests, misreading radiology, misinterpreting test results, etc.
How Are Liability, Causation, & Damages Satisfied for This Case Type
Was it within the standard of care to make the diagnosis which turned out to be wrong? A wrong diagnosis does not necessarily mean there was malpractice.
Was the misdiagnosis the cause of the injury? In other words, the injury must be connected to the misdiagnosis. For example, if a respiratory condition is misdiagnosed and the patient suffers from respiratory failure as a result, then there is likely causation. However, if the patient ends up suffering from an unrelated gastrointestinal issue, there is no causation because even if the proper respiratory condition was timely diagnosed and treated, the gastrointestinal issue would not have been prevented.
What injury did the misdiagnosis cause? Misdiagnosis can vary anywhere from no damages, to death. Some conditions must be diagnosed right away, while others can wait. For example, a stroke which is misdiagnosed can result in devastating injuries while a misdiagnosed Bell's palsy case is unlikely to have significant injuries.