Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
Medical misdiagnosis is one of the most serious and devastating errors that can be made within the medical profession. When a vulnerable patient presents symptoms to a medical professional, they expect and are entitled to receive thorough investigation and appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Human error, equipment faults and poor training can lead to medical staff breaching their duty of care to you and not providing a correct, thorough or relevant diagnosis.
All medical staff in the UK are covered by insurance which means that in the event of their error, which means that claiming compensation if you are the victim of a misdiagnosis is legally supported. Solicitors have extensive experience in negotiating the highest levels of compensation for people just like you who have suffered because of the fault of medical professionals.
What is a medical misdiagnosis?
A medical misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails in their duty of care to you as a patient. This can occur when a doctor or specialist assesses you and fails to recognise your illness, injury or the underlying cause of your symptoms or when you are diagnosed with an illness or condition which is later confirmed to have been incorrect.
The impact of a delayed or missed diagnosis can be extremely severe and potentially result in death. If a doctor fails to recognise life-threatening symptoms and therefore does not refer or treat the true cause of your condition, the symptoms are likely to get worse and could become untreatable or result in a fatality.
When a patient is diagnosed with an illness that is not correct, they are likely to begin treatment which may be entirely inappropriate for their condition and could have detrimental effects on their health. What is more, by providing an incorrect diagnosis, the true illness remains undiagnosed and therefore, untreated. Again, the results of this can be catastrophic for a patient’s health.
How does misdiagnosis occur?
Doctors are usually incredibly skilled at diagnosing correct injuries and illnesses and prescribing effective treatment. However, when a doctor makes an error or misdiagnoses a patient, the results can be life-threatening. The causes of misdiagnosis are usually because of one of the following:
- Failure to thoroughly assess – when a doctor is not thorough in their examination or does not assess all symptoms, misdiagnosis can easily occur. A medical practitioner who only recognises some of a patient’s complaints will not have a thorough understanding of overall health and potentially related conditions.
- Failure to carry out tests – similarly, when a doctor fails to carry out tests which would help to determine the cause of symptoms and cement a diagnosis, they will have failed in their duty of care to their patient. Tests can take time but are invaluable in diagnosing or ruling out serious illnesses and pinpointing exact causes of symptoms which allow for effective treatment to be prescribed.
- Errors in reading test results – a doctor who misinterprets or miscommunicates test and investigation results is likely to misdiagnose a patient. By not recognising the full content of test results or by failing to notice anomalies, the doctor may seriously jeopardise their patient’s health.
Am I eligible to make a claim for a medical misdiagnosis?
Patients of all illness types are legally protected from malpractice and misdiagnosis by medical professionals. The rights of the patent are well documented, regulated and communicated throughout training and practice for all medical staff and as such, if a breach of duty of care occurs, the patient may be eligible to make a claim for compensation. The rights of the patient include the right to receive compensation if you have been harmed because of the negligence of your doctor or other medical staff.
Making a misdiagnosis claim can be a complex undertaking as it can be difficult to gather evidence to prove that you were diagnosed incorrectly or not at all. In order to be successful in your claim, your solicitors will demonstrate that the level of care afforded to you by your doctor or medical staff fell below the levels that are considered to be acceptable and as a result, you suffered harm.
How will misdiagnosis be confirmed?
To confirm that misdiagnosis occurred, your solicitor may adopt the guidelines of the ‘Bolam Test’ which helps to determine whether malpractice has occurred. The Bolam Test measures the treatment that you received against that which would be accepted as reasonable and normal by other medical professionals. If it can be shown that other doctors would have diagnosed you correctly, you are likely to be in a strong position to make a successful misdiagnosis compensation claim.
To build a strong case and negotiate the most favourable outcome on your behalf, your solicitor will gather evidence that supports your misdiagnosis claim. This evidence will include copies of your medical records which will highlight your appointment dates and outcomes as well as subsequent investigation results and treatment plans. This information will help the solicitor to establish how present your symptoms were, the timescales and the suffering that was caused to you by the doctor’s error.
How much compensation will I be awarded?
The compensation amounts that are awarded to clients such as yourself are judged on an individual basis. This is because cases like yours can vary in severity and as such, it is important that your solicitor can demonstrate the level of impact and the seriousness of your injury and symptoms in order to secure the highest possible award amount.
As well as receiving an amount for the pain and suffering caused by your injury or illness, you would also be entitled to an additional amount to cover any financial losses. This could include any lost wages due to having to have time off work, any transport related costs such as taxi fares to and from hospital appointments, or the cost of any medical treatment you have required to aid your recovery process.
During your free initial consultation, your solicitor will discuss your individual case and use their knowledge and expertise to provide you with an honest opinion on the likely success of your claim, as well as an estimate of the amount of compensation that you could be entitled to receive.