We trust that our doctors not only have our best interests in mind, but never make mistakes when it comes to our health. If they run a battery of tests on us, we assume those tests will always tell them exactly what’s wrong with us and prompt them on how they should proceed in helping improve our health. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and our law firm has represented far too many individuals that have suffered because of a misdiagnosis of a condition or a failure to diagnose cancer.
The experienced New York City medical malpractice lawyers at Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, have the knowledge and skill it takes to fight for patients' rights and hold doctors and hospitals accountable for their negligence. If you or a loved one has been the victim of wrongful diagnosis or failure to diagnose, please contact us at (212) 986-7353 to find out how we can help you.
"Failure to diagnose" is a legal phrase referring to a form of medical malpractice in which a doctor fails to determine the nature of a medical problem. This happens millions of times every year, and while the results are minimal in some cases, they are disastrous in others. In cases where a medical condition or disease is not diagnosed or misdiagnosed, doctors can be held accountable. Failure to diagnose a serious medical condition in a timely manner can truly be the difference between life and death. An incorrect diagnosis can also result in unnecessary medical or surgical procedures, or use of a medication that either does not help or makes the situation worse.
Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is very common in America, sometimes with truly tragic results. According to recent studies, most people will suffer from at least one wrong or delayed medical diagnosis at some point in their lifetime. In addition to this, diagnostic errors, including misdiagnosis, contribute to about 10% of U.S. patient deaths and 17% of negative or adverse events while in a hospital. Perhaps even more horrifying is the fact that these are relatively conservative numbers, based on the information available, and actual cases may be much higher in number.
A misdiagnosis is twice as likely as other types of malpractice to result in the death of a patient. In fact, a recent study reported by the Massachusetts Medical Society found that death was the most common patient outcome for medical malpractice claims in primary care, and that failure to diagnose was the most common medical malpractice claim.
Making the proper diagnosis of an illness is difficult under any conditions, and what doctors do is often truly inspiring. But when medical professionals are negligent in their responsibilities and fail to treat their patients properly, the results can be terrible.
A significant number of failure-to-diagnose cases involve errors made while diagnosing myocardial infarction, pneumonia, appendicitis and various types of cancers; including breast, testicular, prostate, cervical, and lung cancer.
Early diagnosis and treatment is key to surviving life-threatening medical conditions and overcoming diseases. A treatable cancer, for example, may become inoperable if it spreads because of a failure to diagnose.
There are steps you can take to prevent misdiagnosis. First, make sure you know your family history. A number of studies have shown that family history is a fairly accurate predictor of disease. Don't be too shy to ask questions. A doctor sees a number of patients each day, spending just a few minutes with each one. Asking questions might help save your life.
Do not assume that technology will save you. Don't always trust the test results. They do have a margin for error. In some cases, misinterpreting the tests can prove deadly. Getting a second opinion is recommended. You need the doctor from whom you are seeking a second opinion to examine your case thoroughly and independently without being influenced by the conclusions of your original doctor. Instead, describe your symptoms, tell him or her about your family history, the tests you have undergone, and help the doctor come up with his or her own conclusions.
While it would be nice if misdiagnosis was easy to prove, the reality of our legal system is that it is not. In fact, doctors are not always legally responsible for diagnostic errors just because they occur. There are specific, important factors which you have to prove, in order for a malpractice claim involving misdiagnosis to move forward.
First, you must demonstrate that an official doctor-patient relationship existed. This is usually simple to do through medical records and appointment payments. It is worth noting, however, that this means you cannot bring a misdiagnosis claim against someone who casually suggests a possible illness or against an informative medical website. You can only bring a civil suit against a healthcare provider you meet with in an official way.
Next, you have to demonstrate that the doctor was negligent and did not provide care or treatment in a way that was appropriate. This is, perhaps, the most difficult aspect of any malpractice case, including misdiagnosis. In order to prove negligence, you need to demonstrate that another doctor, acting reasonably, would have diagnosed your illness properly. You typically need one or more medical professionals, with extensive knowledge of your type of illness, to look at your case and provide evidence against your doctor.
Finally, you must prove that the negligence of your doctor, via misdiagnosis, was directly responsible for your injuries. If your doctor fails to diagnose your condition properly, and you suffer a surgical injury for an unrelated reason, then you might not have a case. If you suffer an injury because the wrong procedure was used or you took incorrect medication due to the misdiagnosis, you have a much stronger case.
Our firm has been providing superior legal representation for victims of medical malpractice for the past five decades. Whether you or a loved one is a victim of a surgical error, a birth injury, a prescription mistake, or a delay in diagnosis, our practice has the experience and the track record to see to it that you are justly compensated for your injuries.
We understand that the last thing you may wish to do right now is hire a lawyer and pursue legal action. It is a daunting idea even when you’re in the best of health. However, with the legal counsel of Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, at your side, you can rest assured that we will build the strongest case possible given the details of your particular misdiagnosis. We’ll do the heavy lifting, and work tirelessly on your behalf, while you and your family take the time to recover.
Recently, Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, represented a wrongful death suit that ended in a $2.5 million settlement for the plaintiff. In the suit, a pulmonologist was accused of failing to diagnose a young woman’s Stage IA lung cancer - at which point she may have survived had the proper steps been taken. Sadly, 11 months later, she was given the news too late, and passed away a short time after that.
Anyone who has suffered the consequences of a wrongful diagnosis, failed diagnosis, or delayed diagnosis can file a medical malpractice claim seeking damages for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Permanent injuries
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
We have the skill, knowledge, and resources to prove your medical malpractice claim. We have access to well-known experts who can help provide testimony in your case and bolster the facts. Contact our offices as soon as possible. While there are a number of exceptions, New York State’s statute of limitations runs out after two and a half years. This means that if you fail to file within that time period, you may be forfeiting any chance you have at obtaining compensation. Call Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP, today at (212) 986-7353 to schedule a free case evaluation.
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NY Failure to Diagnose Verdicts & Settlements
$4.5 Million - Failure to Diagnose Appendicitis
$2.95 Million - Chest Pain Misdiagnosis
$2.7 Million - Evans Syndrome Misdiagnosis
$2.25 Million - Failure to Diagnose Heart Attack: Stroke
$2 Million - Failure to Diagnose Cancer
$1.75 Million - Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death: Failure to Diagnose Cancer
$1.7 Million - Failure to Diagnose Prostate Cancer
$1.4 Million - Failure to Diagnose Kidney Abnormalities
$1 Million - Failure to Diagnose Lung Cancer