Hospital negligence refers to careless acts by a doctor, nurse or caregiver that cause damage to a patient. There are many kinds of acts that fall under this category, but one of the most common is misdiagnosis.
This occurs when a doctor gives the wrong diagnosis to a patient, which can affect how that patient is treated, how that patient reacts to medication or surgery, and how well that patient recovers from the disease or medical condition which was misdiagnosed.
More than 12 million patients a year in the U.S. who are under outpatient care are misdiagnosed and, in 50 percent of those cases, patients suffer irreparable harm.
Common Types of Misdiagnosis That Result From Hospital Negligence
Hospital negligence, as it relates to misdiagnosis, often happens in emergency room situations – although that is not always the case.
Emergency rooms are a buzzing hub of constant activity and split-second decisions are necessary to keep patients alive.
In this environment, mistakes made through carelessness are often the most damaging.
Common types of misdiagnosis includes:
- Misdiagnosis Due to Lab Errors – This can occur when lab samples are contaminated, improperly analyzed or when lab results are mislabeled. Doctors can also make a mistake in reviewing test results, which can cause them to diagnose the wrong illness for a patient.
- Misdiagnosis Due to Improper Testing – In some instances, doctors may order the wrong tests, because they fail to recognize symptoms. And, as shocking as it may seem, some doctors fail to obtain test results or fail to let patients know the results of those tests. Failing to order appropriate follow-up tests based on initial test results is another example of negligence.
- Misdiagnosis Due to Improperly Understanding Symptoms – This occurs when doctors mistake a set of symptoms as one illness or disease when in reality it is another kind of ailment. For example, because the symptoms of mesothelioma can mimic other, non-fatal illnesses, some doctors will misdiagnose mesothelioma as pneumonia or even as a lung disease as opposed to a deadly form of cancer.
Another example occurs when patients complain of constant and severe chest pain, and doctors misdiagnose it as acid-reflux instead of as a serious sign of an impending heart attack.
Negligence Is Not Acceptable
While not every misdiagnosis is the result of medical negligence, many are. The results of misdiagnosis can last a lifetime or even result in the end of a life because proper medical treatment is not provided when the disease can still be successfully treated. If you or a family member have suffered injuries or death due to misdiagnosis, you are entitled to justice and fair compensation. The firm of Hardesty, Tyde, Green & Ashton, P.A. has years of experience handling medical malpractice. Please call us today at 904-249-9030 for a free consultation.