Putting Our Knowledge And Experience To Work
Failure to Diagnose Lawyers in Kentucky and Ohio
Medical misdiagnosis has several variations. It can mean that an individual’s illness or injury is wrongly identified, leaving him or her with the wrong treatment or no treatment at all. It can also be the failure to diagnose in a timely manner which postpones urgently needed care. Or it can mean that no diagnosis was made by a medical professional, and thus no treatment was offered.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury, illness, or death because of a diagnostic error, it’s important to take legal action with the Cincinnati medical malpractice lawyers at The Lawrence Firm right away. We have extensive knowledge and experience in handling all sorts of medical malpractice claims, so you’ll know your case is in good hands when you obtain the help of our firm.
What is Failure to Diagnose?
Failure to diagnose is exactly how it sounds; it’s a doctor’s failure to take the proper steps of diagnosing their patient with a serious medical condition. This is one of many types of misdiagnosis cases that can lead to a medical malpractice case. Other types of diagnostic errors can include incorrect diagnosis or delayed diagnosis of major medical conditions.
As one can imagine, a physician’s failure to correctly diagnose a patient with cancer, for example, can have deadly consequences. Many patients who receive a wrong diagnosis (or no diagnosis at all) may also suffer physically, mentally, and even financially. That’s why our experienced team of failure to diagnose attorneys at The Lawrence Firm fight tirelessly so all victims can receive fair compensation.
Common Examples of Medical Misdiagnosis
All cases are different and require strong legal strategy from a qualified misdiagnosis lawyer to prove failure to diagnose occurred. At The Lawrence Firm, our medical malpractice attorneys have successfully handled a number of medical malpractice cases like this, including:
- Misdiagnosed heart attack and heart disease
- Failure to diagnose pulmonary embolus or stroke
- Failure to diagnose appendicitis
- Misdiagnosed infection
- Failure to diagnose pneumonia
- Misdiagnosed breast cancer because of incorrectly read radiology films
- Failure to diagnose meningitis, sepsis, and other potentially life-threatening infections
- Failure to diagnose bowel obstructions
Why Does Failed Diagnosis Happen?
Failure to diagnose can happen for a variety of reasons, including:
- Incorrect test results, which may be caused by malfunctioning equipment or human error
- Misreading scans
- Misinterpreting test results
- A health care provider isn’t knowledgeable about a specific medical problem or they incorrectly applied their medical knowledge
- Lack of knowledge about a patient’s medical history
- Lack of follow up appointments or tests
How Common are Diagnostic Errors in the U.S.?
Diagnostic errors are unfortunately incredibly common in the United States. Dr. David E. Newman-Toker at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine states that failing to properly diagnose a patient’s condition is the biggest medical negligence problem in the U.S. In fact, a 2013 Johns Hopkins study claims that medical malpractice victims received $38.8 billion between 1986 and 2010 for diagnostic errors alone. This study also claims that approximately 80,000 to 160,000 injuries and deaths happened every year due to misdiagnosis during that time frame. This means that approximately 1,920,000 to 3,840,000 misdiagnosis-related injuries and deaths occurred in the U.S. in only 24 years.
How to Prove a Doctor’s Failure to Diagnose
In order to prove any kind of misdiagnosis in a medical malpractice case, a misdiagnosis attorney must establish the following elements.
- A doctor-patient relationship existed.
- The doctor failed to provide an applicable standard of care through misdiagnosis and inadequate or inappropriate treatment (aka breach of duty).
- The doctor’s negligence directly caused serious harm or death to the patient.
In most medical malpractice lawsuits, failure to diagnose attorneys also have to work with expert witnesses (such as experienced health care providers) in order to support their medical malpractice claim. These expert witnesses must have extensive knowledge and experience in the medical field in question. For example, let’s say a doctor fails to diagnose their patient with lung cancer which eventually leads to the patient’s death. In order to have the best medical malpractice case outcome, the expert witness must have extensive knowledge of lung cancer and the entire respiratory system in order to prove that the doctor making (or rather, not making) the initial call was in the wrong.
The medical provider witness must also explain how they would provide a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment if they saw the same patient with the same symptoms. Lastly, they must explain how the misdiagnosis caused the patient’s suffering or death.
Doctors, just like all human beings, are not perfect. A doctor failing to correctly diagnose their patient doesn’t immediately indicate medical malpractice. So the best way to prove that a doctor committed medical malpractice through misdiagnosis is to examine their differential diagnosis method.
Differential diagnosis is the general method that many doctors use to diagnose medical conditions. Basically the doctor will make a list of the most probable diagnoses and test each of them by asking about medical history, asking about symptoms, physically examining the patient, running tests/scans, etc. Throughout the course of testing, the doctor will rule out or even add various diagnoses to their list. At the end of all this, hopefully only one diagnosis will remain on the list that best fits the patient’s health complaints. But because the human body is incredibly complex and modern medicine isn’t perfect, there may be a few possible diagnoses left on this list. At that point, the doctor will use their best judgment or refer the patient to a specialist for a second opinion.
So in a medical malpractice claim, a medical expert must examine the doctor’s differential diagnosis method. The doctor is likely negligent if this expert doesn’t see the correct diagnosis listed at all (and it’s clear that a competent doctor should’ve listed that diagnosis at some point) or the doctor listed the diagnosis but failed to run the appropriate tests/scans.
How Do Failure to Diagnose Lawsuits Work?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are incredibly complex, so it’s important to have a general idea of how your case will move forward before you file. The first stage in the litigation process is the discovery. Basically, both the injured victim and the healthcare provider will work with their lawyers to gather strong case evidence.
In the next stage of the litigation process, different medical experts will act as witnesses on both sides. They will provide their genuine, impartial opinion about the medical care the patient received or that the doctor provided. The ultimate goal for these medical experts is to prove whether or not the doctor breached the standard of care by failing to provide a proper diagnosis.
The last stage of the lawsuit is the settlement. It’s important to note that not all medical negligence lawsuits end in a settlement or verdict, but that’s certainly the goal. If all evidence in the litigation proved that the doctor failed to diagnose an existing condition (or just failed to provide the appropriate standard of care) then there’s a good chance that the patient (or their families, in the case of wrongful death) will receive compensation.
Additionally, it’s important to note that most medical malpractice lawsuits are settled outside of court. However, it’s certainly possible for failure to diagnose cases to reach the trial phase. This means that a judge and jury will hear the case and decide who’s liable.
Missed Diagnosis Settlements
If a physician fails to diagnose a patient and both legal teams can reach a settlement outside of court, the exact amount of compensation will vary based on a number of different factors. This includes variables such as:
- The amount of medical bills related to the misdiagnosed medical condition
- The severity of the injuries
- Whether or not the patient died as a result of the doctor’s failure to diagnose
- Whether or not the patient can still work after their medical injuries
- Lost wages
- Medical malpractice damage cap for a specific state
- Pain and suffering
The average settlement amount for medical malpractice cases in the U.S. is $329,565 according to a 2017 JAMA study. It’s important to note that some states have settlement caps for medical malpractice cases. Kentucky doesn’t have a cap, but Ohio does. According to the Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2323.43, the cap is:
- Or three times the patient’s economic damages;
- No more than $350,000 per patient,
- And no more than $500,000 for each case if there’s more than 1 patient.
Lawyers With the Ability to Build a Strong Case
Proving misdiagnosis requires both extensive medical and legal knowledge. Our experienced attorneys are supported by a nurse-attorney on staff and will consult other medical professionals and experts to evaluate cases. They can help us build a strong argument for compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs of an illness or injury that should’ve been prevented with appropriate medical care.
Call the Failure to Diagnose Lawyers at The Lawrence Firm Today
If you or a loved one’s doctor has committed medical malpractice, you need to call a qualified misdiagnosis lawyer at The Lawrence Firm as soon as possible. Our law firm prioritizes every attorney-client relationship and fights for fair compensation in every misdiagnosis lawsuit. Additionally, we are proud to serve clients in both Kentucky and Ohio. You can reach our Covington law office at (859) 578-9130, our Cincinnati law office at (513) 651-4130, or toll-free at (800) 698-4054. Call for a free consultation today.
You Pay No Fees Unless We Win!
We are happy to offer a free consultation to evaluate your case. If you hire us as your legal counsel, we will represent you on a contingency-fee basis. You will pay no attorneys’ fees unless we recover financial damages.