If you have been to a medical professional and they have provided a medical diagnosis or no medical diagnosis and you do agree you need to go and get a second opinion. Misdiagnosis can lead to being provided no treatment, the wrong treatment, and lead to a less than optimal outcome.
Basically, when a medical professional is trying to diagnosis what is wrong they are generally going through a list of potential causes and ruling them out as they prescribe medications, order tests and images, and gather more information from you; with each step the list is hopefully reduced.
To know whether you have a medical negligence compensation claim in relation to misdiagnosis means assessing what has happened to you in the light of the law. Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose is not necessarily medically negligent even when the outcome may have been terrible.
For the misdiagnosis to be negligent you’ll need to prove (on the balance of probabilities) three things.
- You need to show the medical professional failed to meet the accepted standard of care to diagnosis/treat you at the time; this is what we call a breach of the duty of care or liability. That is, the doctor, radiologist, or other medical professional, in all the circumstances, should have made the diagnosis correctly or in time. To show this an expert opinion from an appropriately qualified medical professional is required.
- The breach of duty (the delay or misdiagnosis) must have caused an injury; we call this causation. In relation to misdiagnosis causation can be difficult and will depend on a number of variables. Unfortunately if the misdiagnosis or delay has not caused an injury; that is the outcome is substantially the same as if the diagnosis had been correct or timely there may not be a claim. However, if the injury is worse or the medical treatment required is more invasive then there may be a claim.
- There needs to be damage as a result of the delay. The delay in diagnosis needs to have caused you damage. If the misdiagnosis made you angry this is not enough for a claim. If the misdiagnosis left you with, what the law calls, nervous shock or a psychiatric injury, a need for more invasive treatment, improper care, or a worse medical outcome you may have a claim for compensation.
Medical negligence is complex and you should speak to an appropriately qualified lawyer before making your own assessment on any potential claim; the sooner the better. Please check our blog on time limits here (put link to time limits article).