Some medical conditions can seriously worsen if left untreated, or if treated incorrectly, and patients can die as a result. In some cases, a doctor may fail to diagnose a medical condition or reach the wrong diagnosis. The patient may receive delayed treatment, the wrong treatment, or no treatment at all.
In a study of medical malpractice claims over a 25-year period conducted by John Hopkins Medicine, researchers determined that diagnostic errors may be the largest medical malpractice problem in the U.S. John Hopkins researchers estimate that 80,000 to 160,000 Americans suffer significant permanent injury or death because of medical diagnostic errors every year.
If you know or suspect that you or a family member has been the victim of medical diagnostic error, it is important to consult with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. At The Colleran Firm, we have been successfully handling a wide range of medical malpractice claims for many years.
Our misdiagnosis trial lawyers have the skill and knowledge born of decades of experience to carefully analyze your medical records and determine whether you may have a claim. Contact our firm now for a free case consultation.
Causes of Wrong and Delayed Diagnosis
If you believe you may have a medical malpractice claim it is important to that your medical records are carefully reviewed. Our attorneys and medical experts can use them to isolate what went wrong. That is the first step in obtaining justice for you and your family. Common medical mistake associated with diagnostic errors include the following:
- Delayed Diagnosis due to failure of doctors to order tests such as blood work, biopsies, X-rays, MRIs, or CT-scans, as appropriate for the symptoms
- Follow-up failures of physicians in obtaining results of medical tests and communicating results to patients
- Failure of doctors to recognize symptoms of serious injury or illness in test results
- Pathologist errors in reading medical tests
- Failure to conduct tests properly
- Use of defective medical equipment
- Mistakes made by the lab, such as reading the wrong sample or mixing up patients’ lab results
Most Common Types of Failure to Diagnosis and Misdiagnosis
Many diseases, if not properly diagnosed and promptly treated, can rapidly progress to a dangerous condition for the patient. The John Hopkins Study found that diagnostic errors caused disability or death nearly twice as often as other types of medical errors.
Commonly misdiagnosed diseases and conditions include the following:
- Cardiac disease and stroke: Patients who have symptoms of stroke and cardiac disease, such as severe headaches or chest pains, may be diagnosed with migraines or heartburn and fail to receive medications that could save their lives.
- Pulmonary embolism: Diagnosis of this condition, which involves blockage of the lungs’ main artery, is frequently delayed, particularly in order patients, although early diagnosis is crucial in preventing death, as reported in a study published by the Journal of Emergency Medicine.
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia is easily treated, particularly with early diagnosis. Chest X-rays are often ordered to detect or rule out pneumonia. Unfortunately, as reported in a recent study published by Critical Care, pneumonia often fails to show up on chest X-rays.
- Aspergillosis (fungal lung infection): A study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined the rate of misdiagnosis of this condition to be as high as 73 percent.
- Cancer: A delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer can be a life or death matter for the patient. Nevertheless, diagnosis is frequently delayed for many types of cancer often due to biopsy errors or failures to communicate.
- Cerebral palsy: Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition – not a disease. As reported on WebMD, a test for CP does not exist, and diagnosis can be difficult; children are diagnosed with CP who do not actually suffer from this condition and children who have CP are not diagnosed.
- Pregnancy complications: Urinary tract infections, gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and other medical conditions are common during pregnancy. When doctors fail to diagnose and treat these conditions, or diagnose them too late, it can endanger the health of both the mother and the baby.
Our Verdicts and Settlements in Failure to Diagnose/Misdiagnosis Cases
Our firm has a long list of multi-million dollar settlements and verdicts for our clients in a range of injury matters. Our successes in diagnostic error medical malpractice cases include the following settlements and verdicts:
- $10,000,000 settlement for a woman who suffered serious brain damage after her doctors failed to diagnose her conditions.
- $7,500,000 Philadelphia County jury award on behalf of a 15-year-old whose lower extremity compartment syndrome was not timely diagnosed and treated.
- $5,000,000 Philadelphia County jury award for a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer.
- $2,900,000 Philadelphia County jury award to the estate of a man who died after medical professionals failed to address his cardiac conditions.
- $2,500,000 Montgomery County jury award to the estate of a man who died from cardiac issues that were not appropriately addressed.
- $2,500,000 Philadelphia County jury award for a woman who suffered permanent injuries because of a delay in diagnosing her neurosarcoidosis.
- $2,500,000 settlement on behalf of a man whose skin cancer was not timely diagnosed.
- $2,100,000 Philadelphia County award to a man who suffered cognitive and motor impairment because of a delay in diagnosing encephalitis.
- $2,100,000 jury award for a woman whose colon cancer was not timely diagnosed.
- $1,800,000 settlement for a man who suffered neurologic injury as a result of his doctor’s failure to timely diagnose and treat a spinal cord abscess.
- $1,700,000 Bucks County jury award for a man whose brain hemorrhage went untimely diagnosed, resulting in neurologic injury.
- $1,500,000 Camden County jury verdict for a man who suffered serious complications of infection after the hospital failed to inform him of his blood culture results.
Our Firm: The Right Choice
The Colleran Firm is a respected medical malpractice law firm in Pennsylvania. Our lawyers have been awarded Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent® Rating and listed among Pennsylvania Super Lawyers. Our founding attorney has been handling medical malpractice cases since the late 1960s and has earned a reputation for his legal skills, ethical behavior, and professionalism.
Our legal team includes five trial lawyers. You will get the benefit of a collaborative effort and our combined knowledge and experience. We are committed to obtaining full and fair compensation for our clients and we carefully prepare and strategize our cases. You can rely on our firm for caring and professional representation in your medical malpractice claim.