Failure To Diagnose
Your Legal Options When a Wrong Diagnosis Leads to Further Harm
A correct diagnosis can be a matter of life and death. Delayed diagnosis and failure to treat a condition that might otherwise require a routine procedure can result in significant health problems and can even be fatal. At times it may not be possible to recognize a specific ailment. However, if you believe you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury due to what you believe was a failed diagnosis or treatment from a doctor, it is important to reach out to an advocate who can help you investigate.
Your Legal Rights After a Misdiagnosed Illness or Injury
At the Kansas City law firm of Norton & Spencer, P.C., we have been involved in some of the biggest medical malpractice cases in Missouri. This includes obtaining multiple eight-figure settlements and judgments.∗ We have extensive experience representing those injured, ill, or with exacerbated conditions due to a failed medical diagnosis.
As Kansas City medical malpractice lawyers, we are ready to take our experience to work on failed diagnosis/treatment issues involving, but not limited to:
- Heart disease and problems
- Pulmonary embolism
- Heart attack
Because we understand the difficulty of these cases, we put the utmost premium on investigation and maintaining a small caseload so that we are prepared to do everything possible to advocate for you and get you the compensation you deserve while holding the medical community accountable.
Misdiagnoses and Delayed Diagnoses
A misdiagnosis can be just as dangerous as failing to make any diagnosis of an illness. When a misdiagnosis occurs, a doctor or other medical professional looks at the data available and comes to the wrong conclusion about what is afflicting a patient. Not only does the patient then not receive the care necessary to address what is actually making him or her sick, but the patient may receive unnecessary drugs or procedures. Depending on the misdiagnosis, that unnecessary treatment can be quite dangerous for someone not suffering from the actual condition.
A delayed diagnosis might not seem quite as dangerous as a misdiagnosis or complete failure to diagnose, but it can be. In a situation with delayed diagnosis, doctors eventually come to the correct diagnosis of an illness, but they should have detected it sooner. Early detection is vital when it comes to treating serious illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. When a doctor fails to spot something in a timely manner, the error can make treatment much more difficult or even cost the patient his or her life.
Common Ways a Misdiagnosis Can Occur
- Failure to order tests: Accurate diagnosing is one of the most important skills a doctor must master, and it often relies on testing to find indicators of a serious illness. When a medical professional fails to order the right tests for a patient, then he or she might fail to make the correct diagnosis. Such an oversight can have catastrophic consequences.
- Misreading test results: Even when a doctor orders the proper tests for a patient, he or she still needs to correctly read the results of that test. Sometimes getting a second opinion from another doctor looking at the results is all that’s needed to properly diagnose an illness.
- Improper treatment: In some situations, a doctor might partially diagnosis an illness correctly, but then move forward with the wrong treatment. In these cases, additional testing or a better understanding of treatment options could have prevented the misdiagnosis and mistreatment.
- Loss of records: We expect our doctors and hospitals to keep track of our records and have them on file for us. Sometimes, however, healthcare organizations lose our medical records, which makes tracking certain illnesses or treatments much more difficult. Without the correct records, something in a patient’s history can be missed, resulting in a failure to diagnose an illness.
How Long Do I Have to File a Misdiagnosis Lawsuit?
Although there are a few exceptions, in general there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim in Missouri. This means you must file a malpractice lawsuit within two years of when the medical mistake happened. With that in mind, there are a few additions to this rule:
- Misdiagnosis: Since a misdiagnosis might not be recognized until years after treatment, the statute of limitations for a failed diagnosis is two years from when the misdiagnosis should have been, or was, caught. This is helpful since these mistakes are often unrecognized until well after the initial two years have ended.
- Statute of repose: There is an overall deadline for filing a malpractice suit in Missouri of 10 years. This means that once 10 years have passed since the mistake was made, no lawsuit can be filed.
- Minor plaintiffs: For anyone under the age of 18, the statute of limitations is extended until they turn 20. So even if a child is 4 years old at the time of a misdiagnosis, the parents have until their child turns 20 to file a malpractice claim.
Call Today for Compassionate and Skilled Legal Help
If you believe you or a loved one suffered needlessly because of a failed diagnosis or a misdiagnosis, schedule a free initial consultation with one of our Kansas City failure to diagnose attorneys today by calling 816-454-5800 or emailing us.
*Past results cannot guarantee or predict similar future outcomes.