Atlanta,Georgia Medical Malpractice Attorneys - Misdiagnosis
According to a 2009 CBS News Article, hospital autopsy records indicate that in only about 6 percent of hospital deaths are autopsies performed, but in that 6 percent, approximately 40 percent of the deceased were misdiagnosed by their doctors and that between 10 and 12 percent of the cases involved a major misdiagnosis or diagnosis that if made correctly originally would not have resulted in death. Those are pretty startling statistics, however misdiagnosis is not just a problem in hospitals but also in doctor’s offices and care clinics throughout the country. In fact, the number of cases in which patients are misdiagnosed may be on the rise as busy doctors spend less and less time with patients. Unfortunately, a misdiagnosis can have very serious consequences, ranging from patients getting medical care they do not need to patients not getting help in time for life-threatening illnesses.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by a medical misdiagnosis, it is important to understand that you have legal rights. An experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorney can help you to take action against the doctor or healthcare provider that failed you.
The Risks of Misdiagnosis
Patients place their trust in doctors, including primary care physicians and specialists, to provide competent medical care. A part of providing competent care is conducting thorough examinations and listening to patients on the symptoms they are suffering. Using information provided by patients as well as information gleaned from exams and medical testing, doctors are expected to provide informed diagnoses and to make recommendations on appropriate treatments.
For many health problems, including cardiac diseases, head injuries and cancer, prompt diagnosis and treatment can have a major impact on survival. In fact, according to a 2008 health article posted on Wired.com, there is a 90-percent survival rate for most cancers diagnosed early as compared to a 10-percent survival rate when cancer is diagnosed late. With statistics like these, it is clear that a misdiagnosis of even a few weeks or a few months can have a significant impact on a patient’s options.
Misdiagnosis, of course, involves not only a doctor missing an illness or medical problem but also a doctor diagnosing a condition incorrectly. In the CBS News article, for example, a patient was incorrectly diagnosed with cancer when she had only a benign tumor. Unfortunately, in this case, it was the treatment that killed her. Other patients have also suffered similar fates, from an incorrect diagnosis of cancer to unnecessary amputation or other aggressive treatments being needlessly administered. In many of these cases, the treatment can also have a devastating impact on the patient for the rest of his or her life.
Taking Legal Action with the Help of an Atlanta Malpractice Attorney
Doctors have an obligation to patients to provide reasonably competent medical care. When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition or diagnosis a medical problem incorrectly, the doctor may be considered in breach of this obligation.
Doctors, of course, aren’t expected to be perfect. They are judged by what a reasonable doctor in their area of expertise would have done in a similar situation. If no reasonably competent doctor with a similar background would have misdiagnosed a patient under the same circumstances, the doctor who made the error can be considered negligent in the eyes of the law. This can make the doctor liable for paying a variety of different damages including compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical costs arising from the injury or even wrongful death damages.
However, while the law provides patients with the right to compensation, it can sometimes be difficult to get the money that you deserve. Misdiagnosis cases are complicated both because you need to prove that the doctor was unreasonably bad at his or her job and because you need to show that the misdiagnosis caused you to suffer some type of harm that you wouldn’t have suffered if the doctor hadn’t made the mistake.
An Atlanta medical malpractice attorney can assist you with all of these difficult aspects of proving a claim for misdiagnosis. From lining up expert witnesses to helping to explain your medical records to a jury in an understandable way, Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers provide invaluable assistance to misdiagnosed patients.
Contact An Atlanta Medical Malpractice Attorney Today
When you suffer an injury as a result of any type of medical malpractice, you need an attorney with experience handling these complex and detail-oriented cases. At Sammons & Carpenter, our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers have extensive experience representing clients who have suffered at the hands of doctors who were supposed to help. Give us a call today at (404) 991-5950 or contact us using our online contact form. Your consultation is free and our Atlanta medical malpractice lawyers charge fees for legal representation only if we are successful at getting you the justice you deserve.
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