Failure to diagnose medical conditions is one of the most common legal claims of medical malpractice that patients in Florida and around the country make. Although certain cancers, heart attack and appendicitis are the most costly misdiagnoses that a professional can make in terms of dollars and in terms of severity, they are not the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions.
The most prevalent conditions that doctors fail to diagnose are hypertension and diabetes. These diseases do not generally cause sudden death but are quite serious and can be life-threatening in the long-term. However, they are often present without accompanying symptoms, so they are easier to miss. Some estimates suggest that about one in three people have hypertension that has not been diagnosed.
If someone believes that they have been misdiagnosed with a disease or condition that has affected their quality of life and their long-term prognosis, they may wish to file a medical malpractice claim in the civil court. These types of suits are intended to compensate victims; the court may consider both the emotional and physical pain and suffering that the victim has endured, as well as practical costs like medical expenses. They may also consider compensation for lost wages and reduced quality of life. In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded.
In 2013, $3.6 billion was paid out in more than 12,000 medical malpractice claims. Approximately 33 percent of those claims were related to the diagnosis. Consulting an attorney who is familiar with medical malpractice may be a good source of support and guidance. They may be able to offer advice and determine an appropriate course of action specific to a particular set of circumstances.
Source: Becker’s Hospital Review, ’29 Statistics on Medical Malpractice Payouts and Lawsuits”, Molly Gamble, May 3, 2013
Source: Right Diagnosis, “How Common is Failure to Diagnose?“, December 10, 2014