Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney

Tulsa Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney

Almost 12 million Americans experience a medical misdiagnosis every year. Of these, nearly 20% tragically result in death. Mistakes by doctors and other practitioners can worsen a patient’s health or current condition. This compounds the misdiagnosis by adding stress, anxiety, and financial burden to their lives. Patients and their families must struggle with unnecessary side effects and often seek legal recourse to win reimbursement for their suffering and loss. It is often necessary to work with a skilled medical malpractice attorney to help secure the compensation necessary to cover losses.

What Qualifies as a Medical Misdiagnosis?

When a medical provider fails to correctly recognize and treat a disease or injury, it can be considered a misdiagnosis. The patient suffers a form of medical malpractice or medical negligence and could be able to file a lawsuit to recover expenses and damages. Common situations which could be considered misdiagnosis include:

  • Diagnosing the wrong disease
  • Misreading or misinterpreting test results
  • Failing to take a patient’s report of pain or illness seriously enough
  • Mistaking drug side effects for an illness
  • Failing to diagnose a disease in a reasonable amount of time
  • Diagnosing a current condition correctly without stating an underlying cause
  • Failing to provide an assessment of the patient’s condition

When a doctor misdiagnoses a condition or illness, the patient then faces many new risks, such as:

  • Serious conditions which go untreated
  • Incorrect or inappropriate treatments for their condition
  • Delay in receiving a correct diagnosis
  • Severe illness or health from incorrect treatments
  • Physical harm or death

There are many factors that can contribute to a misdiagnosis from a healthcare professional such as lack of experience, incorrect training, fatigue, unrecognized bias, or distraction. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and hospital staff are all at risk of misdiagnosing someone and causing significant illness or injury.

How Can I Avoid a Medical Misdiagnosis?

While it is normal for patients to depend on a doctor’s expertise and education for reliable care, many factors can cause a practitioner to incorrectly diagnose someone. When a patient feels their doctor is not treating them correctly, it can be helpful to follow some simple guidelines to advocate for their own health. These guidelines include:

  • Ask questions if the condition is not getting better
  • Ask the physician to review test results a second time
  • Write down any terms or directions from the doctor that are unclear
  • Request that the doctor consider possible alternate diagnoses
  • Request a change in treatment if there is no improvement
  • Ask for a second opinion from another doctor
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations for a new caregiver
  • Make an appointment with a specialist for the condition
What If I Am Misdiagnosed in An Emergency Room?

Although many misdiagnoses occur during regular office visits with family physicians, it is also common for them to happen when a person must visit the emergency room. A patient’s situation is usually urgent, and the entire ER is full of people who are suffering serious illness or injury, making it extremely chaotic. Doctors and nurses are trained to work competently and quickly in these conditions, but emergency rooms are frequently understaffed.

When the environment is filled with people suffering acute medical conditions, grievous bodily wounds, and traumatizing pain, it creates many opportunities for mistakes. One single error can cause a series of consequences that put a patient in more distress than the initial condition that sent them to the emergency room. To reduce avoidable mistakes in treatment, the emergency staff must depend on clear communication protocols amongst all staff, and those protocols must be followed precisely. Otherwise, there can be misreadings or misinterpretations of a patient’s medical history, symptoms, allergies, medications, and possible drug interactions.

Even experienced caregivers can succumb to the effects of overwork, fatigue, and distractions when reading charts or administering treatment. These mistakes can lead to serious complications and injuries, changing a patient’s outcome dramatically. In these instances, a skilled medical misdiagnosis attorney can help victims, and their families face the complexities of pursuing a medical malpractice or medical negligence lawsuit.

How Can a Tulsa Medical Misdiagnosis Attorney Help?

When you or a loved one suffers unnecessary illness or death from a misdiagnosis, it is highly beneficial to seek out an experienced medical malpractice attorney. When a doctor fails to diagnose a disease or condition correctly, there is an increased chance of significant illness or even death.

Patients’ families can lose income if their family member is ill or dies, saddling them with sky-high medical bills and funeral costs. Spouses, children, and other family members can lose the companionship of their loved one, and the victim can lose their enjoyment of life. Using an attorney takes away the stress and confusion of fighting a lawsuit while also facing loss and illness.

In these situations, it is critical to understand exactly how to seek justice and receive the maximum compensation you deserve. Along with gathering evidence to support the case, a skilled Tulsa misdiagnosis attorney can interpret and apply Oklahoma laws for the claim. Their legal team can review medical reports and access information to outline how the doctor failed to meet the required standard of care.

Proving Who Is Responsible For a Medical Misdiagnosis

When a doctor or other practitioner misdiagnoses a patient’s condition, it falls into the category of medical malpractice or medical negligence. Proving liability in these cases can be extremely challenging, as medical providers and hospitals are not willing to admit fault. They often have large financial and legal resources available to them for fighting malpractice lawsuits.

Defendants also commonly attack victims to show how they failed to inform a doctor fully or follow instructions carefully. Additionally, lobbyists for the medical industry have spent many years and millions of dollars encouraging state legislators to write bills favoring physicians, not patients. Finally, medical malpractice cases usually call expert witnesses to testify how the practitioners failed in their duty of care, and few doctors are willing to speak against the peers with whom they work every day.

To successfully argue the liability of a doctor, the plaintiff and their lawyer must clearly demonstrate proof that:

  • The doctor and patient have an established medical relationship
  • The medical provider’s action or inaction was negligent, failing to meet the standard of care by others in that field
  • The doctor’s negligence or malpractice led to the illness or injury
  • The resulting change in the patient’s condition led to certain damages, such as injury or death

While many malpractice lawsuits are against an individual doctor, a competent medical misdiagnosis lawyer will investigate others who may be at fault. Hospitals or medical organizations employing the doctor can be involved to maximize the compensation that can be won. When someone has caused injury, suffering, and loss in a person’s life, it is only fair that the victim pursues all options to seek restitution for themselves and their family.

What Damages Can I Seek in a Tulsa Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

A medical misdiagnosis can have life-changing effects on a person and their family. Someone who was healthy and active can become bedridden or disabled due to a doctor’s malpractice. If a patient is stricken severely enough, they may lose income for long periods, risking the well-being of their entire family. Victims of a medical misdiagnosis can suffer any of the following situations:

  • Long-term or permanent disability
  • Premature death
  • Lost wages
  • Cancer that advances to an inoperable state
  • Severe physical pain
  • Increased recovery time
  • Loss of mental function
  • Scarring, disfigurement, and loss of limbs or organs
  • More aggressive, invasive, or painful treatment
  • Significantly higher medical costs

In order to offset the financial, physical, and emotional burdens of these maladies, plaintiffs can pursue two main types of damages: economic and non-economic. Examples of these damages include:

  • Economic:
    • Medical bills
    • Hospital costs
    • Physical therapy expenses
    • Medical assistive device costs
    • Medication or treatment expenses
    • Travel charges to seek necessary treatment at specialized facilities
    • Lost wages
    • Lost earning potential
    • Insurance co-pays and deductibles
  • Non-economic:
    • Loss of companionship
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Mental anguish
    • Pain and suffering
    • Loss of consortium
    • Worsening of previous injuries

There are various factors that can affect the total amount of compensation paid if these claims are successful. Oklahoma Statutes section 23-61.2 governs how jury awards are disbursed in medical malpractice cases. The statute does not limit the amount of economic damages that can be pursued or awarded. However, it does cap non-economic damages at $350,000 even if multiple defendants are involved. In order to accurately calculate the compensation to seek, the victim should maintain detailed records of their experiences and retain all receipts and bills as supporting evidence.

In Oklahoma, medical malpractice or negligence lawsuits have a 2-year statute of limitations. A lawsuit must be filed within two years of the misdiagnosis or two years from the date the victim first became aware of the misdiagnosis. If a patient fails to file within this 2-year window, they may not be able to recover any damages at all.

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