Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Misdiagnosis Accounts for Large Number of Medical Malpractice Cases

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Medical malpractice can occur in many different ways — surgical errors, prescription drug errors and birth injuries are just a few examples. One of the most common types of malpractice, however, is misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.

Sometimes a physician’s diagnosis leads to delayed treatment, incorrect treatment or even a complete lack of treatment. However, a delayed or mistaken diagnosis by itself is not usually enough to justify a medical malpractice claim — the patient or the patient’s family must still be able to prove that the misdiagnosis directly caused a serious injury.

The success or failure of a medical malpractice claim is largely based on whether a physician was negligent. For misdiagnosis, evidence of negligence can often be found in the doctor’s “differential diagnosis” method. A differential diagnosis is a system used to identify a disease or condition. The method involves making a list of diagnoses in order of probability, then testing the strength of each diagnosis by asking questions, ordering tests and making further observations. This process typically results in many of the diagnoses being ruled out, leaving only one diagnosis at the end.

In a medical malpractice misdiagnosis case, the patient must be able to prove that a physician in a similar specialty and under similar circumstances would not have made a wrong diagnosis. This can often be done by demonstrating that the doctor made a serious mistake during the differential diagnosis process, either by failing to include the correct diagnosis on the list or by incorrectly ruling it out. In some cases, a diagnostic test error is to blame.

If you believe you or a loved one was the victim of medical malpractice, it’s important to act quickly. Contact the Maryland medical malpractice attorneys at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, P.A. right away.