Misdiagnosis & Failure to Diagnose
Currently in California, the odds of a medical practitioner failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing a health condition are much too high. The consequences of these errors are extremely serious as patient health conditions continue to worsen without treatment.
At Ellis Law, our team of medical malpractice lawyers has for over 20 years, represented victims whose lives have been placed in jeopardy and lost as a result of misdiagnosis. Though a successful personal injury lawsuit may bring some measure of justice to the victims and their families, the true measure of damages can never be repaid. Our mission is to not only help recover financial compensation on behalf of the patients, but also to force California’s health practitioners to meet a standard of medical care that will help bring down the staggering number of misdiagnosis lawsuits in the future.
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Commonly misdiagnosed conditions
Health conditions are diagnosed based on a variety of factors including physical examination, patient interviews, blood tests, and other medical tests such as MRI, EKG, X-ray, and other diagnostic tools. Yet, some conditions are commonly mistaken for others or simply undetected in the testing process.
Failures of diagnosis commonly include:
- Misdiagnosis of cancer
- Misdiagnosis of heart attack
- Misdiagnosis of stroke
- Delayed detection of heart attack and stroke symptoms
- Failure to recognize internal bleeding symptoms; other common complications
- Failure to diagnose a related disease
- Wrong diagnosis (diagnosis of disease not suffered by the plaintiff)
- Emergency room mistakes
Failure to diagnose cancer
Failure to detect cancer is among the most alarming of conditions commonly misdiagnosed. Juries are typically very moved in lawsuits brought against physicians, administrators, and health care facilities for failure to diagnose to cancer, and compensatory awards tend to be high. However, these amounts can never fully compensate the victims and families denied the chance to beat a disease that may have been cured with accurate, early detection.
It is our job at Ellis Law to fight for those suffering as a result of cancer misdiagnosis and hopefully effect changes in medical standards that will protect patients from this sort medical negligence in the future.
Liability for misdiagnosis in California
Failures to identify and diagnose a medical condition does not automatically mean that a health care professional has committed medical malpractice.
Three elements must be proven in these cases:
- A doctor-patient relationship was in existence at the time
- The doctor failed to treat the patient with reasonable care, skill and in competent manner (definition of negligence)
- The doctor’s negligence caused the patient’s injury
If all 3 of these elements are met, then liability is clear. However, these cases tend to hinge on the facts surrounding the second and third elements. Even skilled and competent physicians may make diagnostic mistakes. Diagnostic testing equipment may be to blame rather than the doctor who acted otherwise competently.
Finally, the injury complained of must be due to the established doctor negligence. In some circumstances, though a doctor is found to have acted with negligence, the actions may not have caused the injury complained of. Though perhaps rare, it would not be possible to find a doctor liable for medical malpractice in such cases.
Ellis Law’s team of medical experts and investigators are particularly adept at examining the medical record to reveal examples of a physician’s failure to meet California’s local standards of medical care. We carefully review all notes, tests, and other evidence to build the strongest case against those responsible for the misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or delay of diagnosis that resulted in our clients’ declining state of health.
Ellis Law: Los Angeles medical malpractice lawyers
There is some evidence that legal efforts by law firms all over the state are helping to reduce medical malpractice in the state of California. The LA Times recently reported that that incident reports dropped by 247 between 2002 and 2009. However, we’d like to see that number continue to drop especially with regard to cases of misdiagnosis.
Personal injury lawsuits of this nature are extremely sensitive. Plaintiffs who file these claims are often fighting for their lives at the same time they are fighting for justice. At Ellis Law, we take it upon ourselves to absorb the burden of the legal battle so that our clients can focus on their health and their families.
If you or a member of your family received a misdiagnosis of a serious health condition, you may be entitled to significant financial compensation as a result of your ordeal. Please call 310-641-3335 for a complimentary consultation of your case with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer. We serve Los Angeles, the greater Los Angeles area, and surrounding communities within Southern California.