Responsibility for Medical Misdiagnosis

Who is responsible for medical misdiagnosis, the insurance company or medical health professionals?

Finding out who is responsible for a case of medical misdiagnosis is not easy. It’s a complex area of the law and medical negligence is also fairly difficult to prove without a whole host of expert witnesses, medical charts, test results, and the like. This isn’t to say that medical misdiagnosis cases are unusual; they are, however, cases that take a long time to wind their way through the courts.

While most physicians do take the time to look after their patients, assuming the responsibility of a highly trained professional, medical misdiagnosis is far more common than society would care to admit. “Any time there is medical negligence someone suffers,” said Bradley J. Hofland, a Las Vegas personal injury attorney with Hofland, Beasley & Galliher.

By legal standards, there are usually two fairly common oversights that happen virtually daily in the medical arena – the misdiagnosis of a patient’s condition or the failure to diagnose a problem. “Statistics exist indicating that roughly 40% of all med mal lawsuits in the U.S. resulted from a physician’s failure to diagnose a patient in time,” added Hofland.

Misdiagnosis is an interesting area of med mal, as a patient who is diagnosed with the wrong condition or illness may end up suffering from a variety of very unpleasant symptoms. The major problem, however, is not being treated correctly, or not getting treatment for the real medical condition. What this means is in a situation where “time is of the essence,” and a disease such as cancer is not diagnosed soon enough, the patient suffers and may not get the treatment they need in time.

“The other area of concern is options for treatment and the choice of medications for a person may be totally incorrect if the disease is misdiagnosed, which means the disease may be exacerbated in a negative way,” commented Las Vegas personal injury attorney Bradley J. Hofland. These cases are extremely difficult for the person who suffered through a medical misdiagnosis or a failure to diagnose a problem.

There are many cases that also deal with the failure of doctors to even diagnose a disease, which again, would be very devastating for the patient who may receive no help for their illness. Of course, the illness will worsen over time, possibly to the point where it is no longer treatable.

The other interesting part about medical misdiagnosis is that doctors are not always the only people responsible for failure to diagnose cases. The fact is that insurance companies have, at times, done patients a serious wrong (through their policies/practices) by making it difficult for them to receive timely medical intervention. “It’s not too much of a stretch to say that in some instances delays on the insurance end means the difference between life and death,” added Hofland.

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