Nobody is infallible. Doctors, just like everybody else, can make mistakes. However, not all mistakes constitute negligence. In order to make a claim for medical negligence, it has to be established that the treatment, or lack of it, contributed to injuring you or making your health worse. In cases of misdiagnosis, this is not always the case so it doesn’t always constitute a case of medical negligence.
What is a diagnosis?
Diagnosis is the term medical professions use for establishing what is wrong with you. Sometimes diagnosis just involves listening to you explain your symptoms, after which a doctor may make a diagnosis based on the evidence you have provided. In other cases, you may undergo a series of tests, such as having blood taken, X-rays or scans. However, not all diseases are easy to identify and sometimes the wrong diagnosis can be made, which is known as misdiagnosis.
When does misdiagnosis occur?
A misdiagnosis isn’t necessarily medical negligence. Many conditions and illnesses share the same symptoms, which can make diagnosing what is wrong with you difficult. A medical professional may have based a diagnosis on all the evidence available but it may turn out to be incorrect. However, if all correct guidelines were followed and relevant and tests carried out, a misdiagnosis may not constitute negligence. Furthermore, if a doctor makes an initial diagnosis but your symptoms persist, the doctor may make a new diagnosis, which doesn’t mean the first one was negligent, as it may have been based on the evidence available at the time.
What contitutes negligence?
Misdiagnosis only constitutes medical negligence when proper procedures were not carried out, or a diagnosis was not based on all the available evidence and a patient was injured or suffered deterioration in their health. If these criteria are met, a patient can make a claim for medical negligence. Because of the general complexity of medical negligence cases, it is important to speak to a personal injury specialist as soon as you discover that you have been misdiagnosed, as he or she will be able to help you to establish whether or not you have a case.