Personal Injury

Misdiagnosis/Delayed Diagnosis: Is my doctor responsible?

Do you have a medical condition that has gone untreated or mistreated due to a misdiagnosis? If so, there is a chance that your case has legal recourse against possible medical malpractice. There are typically three legal requirements that must necessarily be met before a case can be made for misdiagnosis.

  • There was a doctor-patient relationship.
  • The doctor was negligent.
  • That negligence harmed the patient.

If your case has met these three standards, you might be eligible for legal representation and financial compensation for any damages that have occurred due to your misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis. To be certain, you should contact a lawyer. In this article, we will explore examples of behaviors that would satisfy the aforementioned requirements and why doctors have a legal responsibility to a correct diagnosis.

Firstly, for a case to be made, there must’ve been a doctor-patient relationship. This is the easiest requirement to prove and if there wasn’t any relationship, how could the doctor possibly misdiagnose a condition?

Secondly, the doctor must have been negligent. What is negligence? The definition of negligence is as follows: an act or omission (failure to act) by a medical professional that deviates from the accepted medical standard of care.

Negligence, as it pertains to diagnoses, is typically present in situations where the doctor strays from common medical practices. If a doctor sees a certain set of symptoms that would indicate a certain illness but diagnoses the patient with another ailment, the doctor might be held liable, particularly if that misdiagnosis caused the patient harm. Moreover, an unreasonable delay in diagnosis on the doctor’s part is typically considered negligence and would satisfy this second requirement. It is important to note that a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis does not necessarily constitute negligence; the real consideration is given to the doctor’s competence in the diagnosis process. If a doctor reaches a misdiagnosis through a commonly accepted diagnosing method, it is much harder to prove negligence.

Lastly, it must be proved that the doctor’s negligence harmed the patient. If a doctor misdiagnoses a patient’s illness but the recommended treatment is still effective and has no detriments, it would be much harder to make a case for reparations. However, many misdiagnoses can have serious implications for the health of the patient. Trained New York medical malpractice attorneys describe implications like infection, sepsis or developing a new condition. Every condition or illness has a certain set of reasonable responses and treatments and a misdiagnosis possibly leads to an entirely different set of treatments. This is why a competent diagnosis is absolutely crucial.

So why is the doctor responsible? Doctors have an obligation to their patients and their health. This obligation is expressed in traditions like the Hippocratic Oath. Patients, although they have the option of going to other doctors, are considered to have a right to competent care from wherever they choose to receive it. Therefore, if you have experienced a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, you should contact a lawyer to see if your case is eligible for legal recourse.

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Car Defect Makes Wrecks even at Relatively Low Speeds Result in Horrific Damage

To children and senior citizens, being involved in a car accident can be a cause of serious trauma, especially if they sustain severe physical injuries. Car accidents are among the most common causes of injuries and deaths in the U.S. More than five million road accidents involving cars still happen on U.S. roads annually – more than two million of these accidents result in injuries, while more than 30,000 result in death.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the top causes of car crashes are drunk-driving, recklessness driving, over speeding and driver error. While all these may fall within the control of the driver, there are also causes identified by the NHTSA that fall outside the driver’s control – these are road defect and vehicle or car defect.

Car defects can be very hard to prove, despite certainty of a driver that something in his/her vehicle failed to function well, thus the car accident. If the defect is indeed proven, the car manufacturer usually makes a recall of the particular model to correct whatever mistake the manufacture of the car resulted to.

Mistakes are often caused by skipping a necessary manufacturing step/procedure or by adding a step in the manufacturing process, but which should not have been added in the first place. Though it may be clear that producing a defective car is never intentional, the fact that it passed quality check from the manufacturer and got released into the market, are but just signs of carelessness and gross negligence.

Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC explains that even if it is impossible to ensure all vehicles that make their way onto the marketplace will be free of defect, automakers do have a responsibility to do everything they can to fix a problem as soon as they become aware of it. That being said, members of the automotive industry may still be held liable for any accidents caused by a defect that occurred before a recall was issued.

In many instances, car makers will try and reach out to accident victims with settlement offers as a way to keep the details of victims’ cases away from the public. Though these offers may seem attractive, this should not be accepted. Depending on the circumstances, it may be best for owners to take their case to court.


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The Scary Results of Medical Negligence to Mothers and Their Newborns

Through modern medicine doctors are not only able to care more for expecting mothers; they are also able to make the process of birthing a much safer procedure. However, like other types of medical procedures, giving birth also has its trade-offs which present risks about which many mothers are never made aware of.

Ensuring that a baby born is healthy does not just happen in the delivery room. This includes the months when the baby is still inside the mother’s womb, the time when a doctor has to regularly and accurately monitor the baby’s health and condition, mainly by making sure that the mother herself is in good health and that, at the time of delivery, everything is performed in a way that will not cause any injury to the baby. Doctors, of course, observe medical standards of care in protecting the unborn and the mother; failure to do so can result to pregnancy complications and birth injuries.

Record of live births from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show at least 3,900,000 births in the US every year. Mortality rate, on the other hand, is more than 23,000 annually. Besides the high mortality rate in infant death, another major concern of government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), is the number of babies (and mothers) sustaining injuries during childbirth. In 2006, close to 157,700 mothers and newborns were reported to have sustained injuries during childbirth. Birth injury incidences are highest among 25 to 34 years old mothers who undergo tool-assisted deliveries. Of the many different kinds of birth injuries, Ravid & Assoc says that the most commonly reported are:

  • Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI). This injury, which can cause temporary or permanent disability, damages the bundle of nerves that runs from the upper spine to the hand.
  • Bone Fracture. This injury, which usually heals on its own, affects the collar bone or the clavicle. It results  from a difficult or complicated delivery.
  • Cephalohematoma. This involves the collection of blood underneath the skin, particularly, in the periosteum of the skull bone.
  • Caput Succedaneum. This injury is characterized by the swelling of the scalp. It is the result of using too much  pressure during delivery. This injury, though, is not life-threatening and usually heals on its own.
  • Cerebral Palsy. This injury causes damage to the brain, resulting to impaired muscle coordination. Babies who sustain this injury is affected by it for the rest of their lives as there is no known cure for this type of birth

The saddest thing about birth injuries, also called birth trauma, is the fact that these are nothing more than consequences of negligence. Had proper care been observed, these injuries would have been totally prevented. As a result, thousands of medical malpractice lawsuits have been filed in the past, while hundreds more are filed every year, all citing negligence as the cause birth injuries.

It is because of negligence why, according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier SC ®, many medical professionals fail to provide the standard of care they owe their patients. Due to this failure, they can be held totally accountable whenever their errors result to injuries.

In its website, the law firm Schuler Halvorson Weisser Zoeller & Overbeck P.A., likewise mentions the unfortunate reality of medical professionals not always living up to the standards of their profession. Due to the important roles that they play, however, it is high time that they fully realize the devastating effects which even the smallest mistake can have on their patients and that though they may never have intended to cause any injury, full accountability still rests on their shoulders.

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