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Medical Misdiagnosis

As a society, we tend to have unwavering trust in health care professionals including physicians, nurses, surgeons, psychiatrists, etc. While most medical professionals treat their job with the utmost respect, it’s an unfortunate fact that some are negligent in their duties. This is especially true if the doctor or specialist who you received treatment from diagnosed you with the wrong condition or misdiagnosed you.

A misdiagnosis, depending on the circumstances, could result in serious injury or even wrongful death. In fact, a study from the John Hopkins School of Medicine indicated that diagnosis-related payments were the most frequent out of 25 years of settling medical malpractice claims. The study indicated these payments amounted to $38.8 billion between 1990-2010.

If you’re a patient or your loved one is and you’ve recently discovered a misdiagnosis was made by a medical professional, then you may be entitled to compensation.

Medical Misdiagnosis Lawyer, Des Moines IA

Have you or a loved one suffered from the effects of a misdiagnosis? If so, you could be qualified to a monetary award due to the hospital or health care worker’s negligence. Contact personal injury lawyer Gregory Landry of McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. for a thorough case analysis. He can analyze the facts of your situation and utilize his 30+ years of experience to fight for the compensation you deserve.

At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we hold negligent doctors and healthcare workers accountable for their actions. You can set up your first consultation with Gregory Landry today by calling our offices at (515) 279-9700. We are based in West Des Moines, but accept clients throughout the greater Des Moines, Dallas County and Polk County area including Johnston, Polk City, Pleasant Hill, Waukee, Redfield, Minburn, Van Meter, De Soto, Ankeny, and Adel.

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What is an Example of Misdiagnosis?

Both general doctors and specialists are given thorough and comprehensive training on how to detect illness or injury and ultimately diagnose a person with a medical condition. They are also equipped with complicated and advanced technology in order to determine whether or not a patient has a serious medical illness.

However, sometimes doctors don’t use all the resources at their disposal or don’t take the patient’s complaints seriously. When this occurs, there’s a high chance the patient may be misdiagnosed. For example, imagine a patient comes into a doctor’s office with extreme back pain. The doctor doesn’t perform thorough diagnostics and instead negligently diagnoses the patient with a pulled muscle in order to save time. The doctor does so despite the fact the patient has a history of heart disease they are aware of.

Well, if the patient then suffers a heart attack, then the doctor may be sued for misdiagnosis. That is because back pain, in some cases, can be an early sign of a heart attack. The doctor would be sued due to the fact they were negligent and did not check every avenue when diagnosing the patient as another competent doctor under the same circumstances would have done so.

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Conditions That Are Commonly Misdiagnosed

A diagnosis, especially one in the early stages, could save a patient’s life. So, a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis could endanger a person and be the difference between life and death. Listed below are some common medical conditions that are frequently misdiagnosed.

  • Breast Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Stroke/Heart Attack
  • Aspergillosis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Pneumonia
  • Brain Tumors
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Pregnancy-Related Complications
  • Colon Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer

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What Causes a Misdiagnosis?

Misdiagnosis can occur for various reasons, some of which may be due to the hospital’s negligence or a specific individual’s negligence. The following are some common reasons why a person may receive a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis from a health care professional. 

  • Not Testing or Not Following Up on Testing – Laboratory tests are one of the most important factors in determining a diagnosis. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality, about 44% of diagnostic errors occurred due to failure to order, read, or follow up on medical tests. These mistakes can range from failing to obtain test results to failing to contact the patient with their results.
  • Misidentified Symptoms – The majority of medical conditions can be foreseen by telling recognizable symptoms. However, only a doctor or trained health care professional could spot these signs or determine a medical diagnosis based on these identifiers. Doctors who are unable to detect and respond to health symptoms can be putting their patients at risk of a delayed diagnosis.
  • Not Reading Test Results Correctly – Both primary care physicians and specialists use various types of testing including X-Rays, PET scans, etc. If a doctor is negligent and doesn’t take the time to properly read a test result, it could result in delayed or misdiagnosis. That includes doctors, nurses, or any other healthcare worker accidentally mixing test results of patients. If one patient is given results that aren’t even theirs, they may be misdiagnosed and receive treatment that could hurt them in the end.

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Damages for Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a person is incredibly serious and could be the cause of current and future health problems. Thankfully, the state of Iowa recognizes the suffering those with a misdiagnosis face. That is why you’re allowed to lawfully file a claim of medical malpractice and ultimately seek compensation for the losses you’ve suffered since the misdiagnosis.

If your lawsuit is successful, you’ll receive a monetary award based on your economic and non-economic damages. Listed below are some damages you may receive compensation for:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Hospital visit bills
  • Nursing home costs
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Physical therapy
  • Counseling
  • Lost wages
  • Handicap house fixtures
  • Increased living expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

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Additional Resources

John Hopkins Study |Diagnosis Errors – Visit the official website for John Hopkins Medicine to read a publication that details why diagnostic errors are more common and more costly than any other treatment mistake. Access the site to read the article, review their statistics, the financial cost of a diagnostic error, and more valuable information.

Iowa Medical Malpractice Annual Report – Visit the official website for the Iowa Insurance Division to learn more about the frequency of medical malpractice claims in the state. Access the site to learn the total benefits and expenses paid by claims in 2018 and the number of closed claims by provider specialty.

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Des Moines Misdiagnosis Attorney, Iowa | Polk County & Dallas County

If you’ve suffered with the aftermath of a misdiagnosis, there’s no reason you should also struggle financially. Get in contact with the legal team at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. and speak to their seasoned personal injury lawyer Gregory Landry. With over three decades of experience, Attorney Landry has the knowledge and wherewithal needed to take on your case.

Call our offices today at (515) 279-9700 to set up your first confidential consultation. Gregory Landry can provide a thorough analysis of your claim and determine if you’re viable for a payout. Our offices are located in West Des Moines, but we accept clients throughout the greater Des Moines, Polk County and Dallas County area.

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