Medical Misdiagnosis Claims
Medical misdiagnosis happens in all areas of medicine but we most commonly see claims arising from treatment received from General Practitioners (GPs), or accident and emergency (A&E) staff. These are both busy environments which need an understanding of many areas of medicine, which might increase the risk of a mistake being made.
Misdiagnoses can be serious. They can lead to unnecessary treatment and delays in getting the required treatment.
There are two main types of diagnosis error:
Missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis
A missed diagnosis is when a health professional fails to identify or suspect a condition; sometimes called a failure to diagnose. However, it may result in a delayed diagnosis; where you will receive the correct diagnosis, but only after a significant delay. This might delay you being referred to a specialist or receiving the necessary treatment.
A wrong diagnosis, also known as a misdiagnosis, happens when a medical professional diagnoses the wrong condition. This will not only stop you getting the treatment you need, but you might also receive the wrong treatment, which could in turn exacerbate your condition or cause additional injury or illness.
Misdiagnoses happen in almost all areas of medicine. Some of the most common diagnosis errors we see happen in the following areas: –
- Fractures and dislocations might be missed in A&E because no x-ray was taken or an x-ray was misinterpreted. Scaphoid fractures are commonly missed.
- Cancer might be missed for months, or even years, by a GP who fails to recognise key signs and symptoms. Delays like this can reduce the chance of survival, or lead to more serious treatment.
- When symptoms of serious spinal conditions, such as Cauda Equina Syndrome, are not identified, delays in receiving appropriate treatment can have significant consequences.
- Appendicitis needs prompt treatment, and a delay in diagnosing the condition will prevent this. However, they can often be misdiagnosed as gastrointestinal issues.
- Misdiagnosis of heart attacks are common. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Leeds, and other institutions in the UK, almost one in three heart attacks are initially misdiagnosed.
- Infections like sepsis, staphylococcal or meningococcal can have catastrophic consequences if they are not recognised and treated promptly.
The purpose of compensation is to return you, as close as possible, to where you would have been if the negligence had not happened.
You can claim compensation for the problems a negligent diagnosis has caused. Claims involving a diagnosis error often involve a pre-existing injury or condition, so expert evidence is essential to determining the damage caused by the negligence.
Like other types of medical negligence claims, as well as your injuries, you can claim compensation for financial losses, such as:
- Loss of earnings
- Care and assistance