Late Diagnosis, Misdiagnosis and Failure to Diagnose Disease
Early detection of the most serious diseases and health conditions such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and various infections is of utmost importance for several reasons. The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the greater the chance of successful treatment. Also, with most diseases, the treatment is the most effective if the disease is diagnosed early and properly. Testing for the aforementioned diseases and health conditions should be done thoroughly and swiftly. Regardless of where it takes place, proper and prompt testing can mean the difference between life and death for the patient. In ideal world, all doctors should be able, sufficiently knowledgeable and willing to order life saving tests (such as mammograms, biopsies, CAT scans, blood tests), but they don’t. The instances in which doctors fail to detect and diagnose a potentially deadly health condition happen very often. The reasons for this are many and varied but the most common ones are negligence, fatigue, under staffing, time pressure, ignorance, cost cuts or doctors simply failing to follow up on test results or wrongly interpreting them.
According to a recent study published in the BMJ Quality & Safety journal, each year, close to 12 million people in the United States are misdiagnosed. This amounts to one in twenty adult patients. In half of those cases, late diagnosis, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a disease or health condition have the possibility to result in serious harm and even death. Even common diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, gallstone and urinary tract infections are often misdiagnosed. The sad truth is that despite their frequency and impact, such diagnostic errors have been ignored for the most part. In most extreme cases, misdiagnosis can mean a treatable illness becoming fatal. Although misdiagnosis is preventable, the truth remains that approximately 20% of all illnesses that result in death are misdiagnosed at first.
These are the most common diseases where late diagnosis, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose occur quite frequently:
- Heart attack
- Celiac disease
- Lyme disease
- Thyroid conditions
- Aortic dissection
- Pulmonary embolism
Late diagnosis, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a disease or medical condition that results in serious harm and even death constitutes medical malpractice which, in turn, gives the injured patient or the deceased patient’s loved ones the right to bring a late or misdiagnosis lawsuit against the healthcare provider.
A 25-year summary (1986–2010) of US malpractice, analyzed by the National Practitioner Data Bank, concluded that “diagnostic errors appear to be the most common, most costly and most dangerous of medical mistakes.” Out of 350,706 paid claims, those relating to late diagnosis, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose accounted for the highest share in total settlements (35.2%) while the most frequent outcomes of late and misdiagnosis were death and permanent injuries.
Late diagnosis, misdiagnosis and failure to diagnose lawsuit
Under the laws of the state of New York, damages can be sought in the following cases;
- A deteriorating prognosis
- Unnecessary medical treatments
- Overly invasive or complicated treatments
- Death or injury resulting from late diagnosis, misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose
Because the US law does not hold doctors legally responsible for every single diagnostic mistake they make, in order to successfully bring a medical practice lawsuit patients need to prove three things:
- That a doctor-patient relationship existed
- That a doctor or other medical professional was negligent
- That a doctor’s negligence resulted in death or injury to the patient.
Statute of Limitations
If you are asking yourself whether it is too late to sue your doctor for medical malpractice, here’s is the information that will help you. In the New York state area, the statute of limitations (the time period in which a medical malpractice claim should be filed) is two and a half years from the time the case of malpractice occurs or from the last date of continuing treatment following a medical error.
If you are seeking justice for yourself or on behalf of someone who has died or suffered injuries because of medical malpractice and you live in the New York state area, you will need a lawyer who is properly trained, experienced and uncompromising. We, at Gurfein Douglas, pride ourselves in being just that. Apart from law degrees, our firm’s principals Richard Gurfein and Preston Douglas also have degrees in engineering and biochemistry which gives them an edge over other medical malpractice attorneys in New York. Preston Douglas is an expert in medical malpractice and serious injury cases and, in the last 27 years, he has cross examined over 2,000 doctors in the course of trials and depositions.
At Gurfein Douglas you can rely on the scientific training of our two partners to uncover the often hidden technical details of your medical malpractice lawsuit that the untrained eye might miss. Our attorneys are not afraid of a challenge. On the contrary, they relish on it. No matter how complicated the case or how formidable the defendant may be, Gurfein Douglas will do everything in their power to get you or your loved one the justice and the compensation you deserve.
Our experienced team of medical malpractice attorneys will carefully review all medical records to find out whether the patient’s death or a serious injury was a result of a human error, defective medical or lab equipment, inaccurate test results or other errors in the medical system.
Our successful cases
- $7,400,000.00 settlement on behalf of a 60 year old woman who became paralyzed in both legs and one arm after her doctors failed to diagnose an infection in her spine.
- $5,750,000 verdict on behalf of a 20 year old woman who was discharged from the hospital after giving birth to her second son, even though she had a very aggressive infection in her uterus and abdomen.