As we noted last week here on our Ann Arbor medical malpractice blog, it's possible for a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose to arise in any number of situations. Sometimes, a provider may proceed with a diagnosis in spite of difficulty understanding a patient's native language; a hospital may fail to provide trained, professional interpreters who can facilitate the kind of detailed, accurate communication necessary for a diagnosis.
The point is that a failure to diagnose isn't necessarily just a matter of misreading a test result or looking at the wrong patient's chart. There are a number of factors which a negligent physician may overlook or simply ignore that can lead to a misdiagnosis and worsened condition on the part of the patient. Patients and their families will naturally be wrought with questions when this occurs, so let's take a look at a few common ones.
Of course, patients will want to know if their doctor was negligent or not in diagnosing their condition. While a hospital or clinic will typically react defensively to this reasonable line of questioning, a legal professional will look at what warning signs (if any) as to the underlying condition were present and whether a vigilant physician should have been able to pick up on them. Patients will also want to know how much it would cost them to pursue a medical malpractice claim; while their compensation is based on an analysis of their losses, Goethel Engelhardt PLLC charges nothing unless or until such compensation is awarded.
Finally, patients may want to know when is the right time to begin legal action against a negligent physician or facility. The simple answer is to speak with a legal professional as soon as they suspect a misdiagnosis has occurred. The longer answer is that Michigan law stipulates that claims be brought within two years of the incident, so waiting that long can seriously jeopardize the potential for compensation.
Our page on Diagnosis Errors: Misdiagnosis, Delayed Diagnosis has more information for patients. We provide this blog post as general information only, not specific legal advice.