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Misdiagnosed in San Antonio?

Finding out your doctor at a San Antonio-area medical office, be it an I-35 corridor medical campus or a sole practitioner in Gardendale, made a mistake regarding your diagnosis can be one of the most traumatizing events in your life. Although a misdiagnosis may seem like an unlikely event, for millions of people, it has happened, leading to catastrophic injuries, debilitating consequences, and even death.

If you have been a victim of a misdiagnosis by a San Antonio medical professional, you and your family should not have to deal with the devastating consequences alone. You need an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to advocate for you and to pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.

Misdiagnosis by the Numbers

Misdiagnosis occurs whenever a medical professional incorrectly diagnoses or altogether fails to diagnose a patient’s medical condition. Not all misdiagnosis amounts to medical malpractice, but much of it does.

Misdiagnosis can result in patients:

  • Receiving treatments that do more harm than good;
  • Not receiving treatments in time for them to do good; and
  • Suffering the worsening of an undiagnosed medical condition.

Misdiagnosis happens more often than most people realize. According to a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study, inaccurate diagnosis is the number one cause of serious medical errors. In fact, one in three malpractice cases with serious patient harm is due to misdiagnosis.

Research also shows that:

  • Around 40,000 to 80,000 deaths occur each year in the United States hospitals due to a misdiagnosis.
  • An estimated 12 million patients suffer a diagnostic error each year in a primary care setting that results in 33 percent of them suffering permanent damage, serious injury, or death.
  • Doctors only correctly diagnosed 12 percent of patients seeking a second option in one hospital system. More than 20 percent were misdiagnosed, and 66 percent of the patients required some change to their initial diagnosis.

At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in San Antonio, we consider it part of our mission to reduce the incidence of medical misdiagnosis by holding providers legally and financially accountable for misdiagnosis that should never have occurred.

Conditions Commonly Misdiagnosed in San Antonio

Although there are many scenarios where misdiagnosis can occur, some conditions tend to get misdiagnosed more often than others.

These conditions include:

  • Heart Attack: This condition generally needs to be treated within one hour of the onset of symptoms to minimize scarring and muscle death. Yet, according to researchers, almost 11,000 heart attacks annually are misdiagnosed as heartburn, esophagitis, angina, bronchitis, pneumonia, acid reflux, anxiety attacks, or gallstones.
  • Asthma: As many as one in three individuals diagnosed with asthma may not have this chronic lung disorder, but may instead suffer from recurring bronchitis, sinusitis, myocardial ischemia, GERD, COPD, and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV.
  • Stroke: Around 9 percent of patients who exhibit symptoms of a stroke are misdiagnosed as having a migraine, seizure, high or low blood sugar, brain tumor, Multiple Sclerosis, or even a “conversion” disorder in which the brain and body do not communicate properly.
  • Cancer: To have the best chance of treatment, cancer needs to be caught early. Yet, for many patients, a cancer misdiagnosis will occur and have potentially deadly consequences. The top five misdiagnosed cancers are lymphoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, and skin cancer.

The conditions above represent only a small sampling of the vast number of diseases and medical afflictions that medical professionals misdiagnose or fail to diagnose. That is why, if you believe you have suffered harm from a misdiagnosis of your medical condition, you should reach out to an experienced San Antonio misdiagnosis attorney, such as a member of the team at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, as soon as possible to discuss your rights and options.

Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Claim for Misdiagnosis in San Antonio?

Not every misdiagnosis of a medical condition amounts to malpractice. Doctors sometimes have to make judgment calls, based on available evidence, in assigning a patient a particular diagnosis. A reasonable judgment can still turn out to be incorrect.

Instead, medical malpractice happens in connection with a misdiagnosis when a medical professional fails to provide a patient with the minimum reasonable standard of care. What that means can vary, depending on the provider’s specialty and the circumstances in which the care is delivered. For example, a chiropractor who happens upon a car accident scene and renders aid, but fails to recognize the signs of a heart attack in an accident victim, may not face the same accountability for misdiagnosing the victim’s condition as would a practicing cardiologist who examines that same accident victim at a downtown hospital.

Distinguishing malpractice from a reasonable, but incorrect, judgment call about a patient’s diagnosis is not always easy. That is why it is important to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as you suspect that a medical provider in San Antonio harmed you or a loved one by misdiagnosing a medical condition.

Seeking Compensation for a Harmful Misdiagnosis in San Antonio

If our analysis concludes that a provider did not live up to the standard of care in diagnosing and treating our client, then we may advise our client to take legal action for medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice claims differ from other sorts of personal injury lawsuits. Texas law imposes special procedures and conditions on parties who pursue any type of medical malpractice case. Always be sure to hire a legal team—like the lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA—that has a firm grasp of the special, often-complicated aspects of pursuing and winning a Texas medical malpractice case.

Who faces liability for a medical misdiagnosis?

Doctors and their employers (if they work for a health care system) are not the only parties who may face legal liability for misdiagnosing a patient’s medical condition.

Numerous other medical providers can also be held legally and financially accountable for unreasonable diagnostic errors, including:

  • Nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician’s assistants;
  • Diagnostic and lab technicians who read and interpret diagnostic tests;
  • Pharmacies and pharmacists who recommend medications to patients;
  • Physical and occupational therapists; and
  • Mental health providers.

In short, anyone who holds themselves out as a medical professional qualified to diagnose and treat a medical condition may face legal liability for unreasonably misdiagnosing a patient’s condition.

What damages can misdiagnosed patients recover?

Every medical misdiagnosis case we handle at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in San Antonio has unique facts and circumstances that dictate the damages our clients may receive as compensation for the harm done to them.

In general, and subject to certain caps on damages in Texas medical malpractice cases, patients harmed by an unreasonable misdiagnosis may recover compensation for:

  • Medical expenses necessary in treating the misdiagnosed condition, and any other health complications that flowed from the misdiagnosis;
  • Any other costs incurred by a patient because of a misdiagnosis;
  • Wages and income the patient lost out on earning because of health conditions and complications that would not have occurred were it not for the misdiagnosis; and
  • Non-economic damages, such as pain, suffering, and loss of quality of life, resulting from the misdiagnosis.

Texas law may also permit patients to recover punitive damages in cases in which a medical provider’s misdiagnosis reflected an especially extreme or intentional lapse in delivering care to a patient.

At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we work closely with our clients to evaluate the full extent of the harm they have suffered, so that we know exactly how much money they should receive as damages, and how much they can expect to recover by taking legal action.

If You Suspect a Misdiagnosis Harmed You or a Loved One

If you suspect a San Antonio medical provider misdiagnosed you or a loved one, it’s important to understand that the steps you take to address that concern can affect your legal rights. Although your initial instinct may drive you to contact your doctor and demand better care, that may not be your wisest course of action.

We strongly encourage anyone who suspects they or a loved one suffered a harmful misdiagnosis to consult immediately with an experienced San Antonio medical malpractice lawyer.

You may also want to:

Get a Second Opinion

One way to get a sense of whether a medical provider misdiagnosed you is to seek a second opinion from a different provider who is not affiliated with the first one. A second opinion may reach the same conclusion as your first doctor, which may set your mind at ease, or it may confirm your suspicions and set you on the path to treating the misdiagnosed condition.

If you aren’t sure about who to consult for a second opinion, a skilled medical malpractice attorney can help. At Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we routinely work with expert medical providers who have the qualifications to examine patients, diagnose their conditions, and identify how a prior provider failed to meet the standard of care.

Retain Copies of Your Medical Records

Your medical records serve as an important source of evidence about your diagnosis and the care you received (or did not receive, as the case may be). You can always request a copy of your records from your provider. If your provider gave you any documentation of the care you received in connection with your misdiagnosis, keep it. Never throw away any document or electronic record you receive relating to your care.

Watch What You Say About Your Misdiagnosis

Even though the first thing you may want to do following a misdiagnosis is reach out to others for support or even put your doctor on blast on your social media accounts, understand that sharing those details can hurt your claim and potentially expose you to legal liability.

Medical malpractice insurance companies and malpractice defense lawyers will seize on any opportunity you give them to question your motives or challenge your claims. We encourage anyone who suspects a misdiagnosis to discuss it first with an experienced attorney before sharing any details of it with others.

Get an Experienced San Antonio Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney

No one likes to contemplate the possibility that their doctor misdiagnosed them. We trust medical professionals to do no harm, and misdiagnosis can feel like a profound breach of that sacred trust.

If you suspect that a medical provider in San Antonio harmed you or a loved one through a medical misdiagnosis, you may recover significant financial compensation. Get a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer near you to determine if you have a good compensation claim.