Misdiagnoses have proven to be the most common type of medical error in the United States. When people in Providence County go to see their physicians, they trust that those practitioners’ expertise will lead to a correct diagnosis of their conditions. Yet it’s important to remember that diagnostic medicine is in essence a guessing game. You recite your symptoms to the doctor, and he or she makes a diagnosis based off of them. Laboratory tests and imaging studies are available to help confirm the doctor’s assumptions, yet in many cases, you won’t even progress to that point in an evaluation before your doctor settles upon a final diagnosis.
Those who have suffered physical injuries, financial loss or other types of damages at the hands of their physicians often want to gain a better understanding of their legal options. According to the National Institutes of Health, medical malpractice lawsuits are essentially negligence claims. As such, Rhode Island residents who choose to pursue such cases must establish the four elements of a negligence lawsuit:
Patients in Providence may feel as though given today’s advanced diagnostic tools, the missing or misdiagnosis of a serious illness by a doctor or other healthcare professional to be an impossibility. Yet it should be remembered that healthcare providers are subject to the same errors in judgment as the rest of the general population. According to information shared by ABC News, every year 1.3 million people are diagnosed with cancer. Yet researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital found in their own study that nearly 1 on every 71 cases studied showed a cancer misdiagnosis.
Throughout our many years of experience in helping clients here at DeLuca and Weizenbaum, we've worked with a number of people who've suffered both directly and indirectly from the consequences of an inaccurate diagnosis. Strokes are among those medical events whose delay in treatment can have disastrous consequences. Yet often, people will exhibit risk factors for a stroke such as a transient ischemic attack, which, if treated properly and promptly, can greatly reduce one's chances of actually having a stroke. In this post, we'll examine the signs and symptoms of a TIA, as well as the potential for its misdiagnosis.
Medical mistakes made by providers in Providence and throughout the rest of the country can have a significant financial impact on the healthcare market. Information shared from the Institute of Medicine in a report by the diagnostic management company Premerus estimates that dealing with cases of medical negligence and misdiagnosis costs between $17 to $29 billion every year. These costs can potentially be felt across the market.
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act requires hospital emergency rooms in Providence and throughout the rest of the country to provide medical treatment in emergency situations, regardless of a patient's ability to pay. This helps to avoid a failure to diagnose those conditions that could be prove to be life-threatening if left untreated. Under EMTALA, an emergency is defined as any condition manifested by symptoms severe enough to reasonably expect to result in serious injury or impairment to an individual or unborn child. Under this provision, expectant mothers are also required to be seen for conditions related to their labor.
Often, the accidents that leave Providence residents with severe injuries are the result of their own negligence. Should such injuries require medical treatment, the healthcare providers who provide that treatment are still expected to do so to the best of their abilities. If that expectation is not met, both sides are often left blaming the other for the resulting consequences that accident victims are left to deal with.
For many in Providence, finding proof that they or their loves ones were the victims of medical malpractice may seem to be relatively easy. After all, they have the results of the malpractice to show as evidence of its occurrence, and they may also have recollections of even documented proof of the doctor errors that contributed it. Yet actually using that evidence to prove that negligence occurred is another matter entirely. Doctors aren’t often keen on fessing up for their mistakes, and the healthcare industry as a whole is often very protective of its own. Should one choose to pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit, he or she may find him or herself fighting not just an individual provider, but an entire hospital or clinical network.
Despite all of the advances made in the medical industry in recent years, medicine can still be classified as an evolving science. Doctors and other healthcare providers in Providence and across the rest of the country see countless patients day after day, most of whom are suffering from fairly common ailments. It’s through the experience in spotting and treating these ailments combined with their education that helps healthcare providers to hone their diagnostic skills. Yet unfortunately, not every doctor can be right in his or her diagnosis all of time. When a misdiagnosis does occur, patients may suffer from delayed treatment while their doctors open themselves up to accusations of negligence.
Most medical malpractice lawsuits filed in Providence that involve a misdiagnosis usually claim that such an error lead to a patient’s suffering or death. Yet what if the misdiagnosis is death? In all seriousness, there is a reason why a qualified medical professional is required in order to pronounce one dead. Yet these professionals are subject to error just like any other medical provider, and as outlandish as it may seem that they might mistakenly diagnose someone as being dead, there is a precedent for such cases.