Legal Rights When Misdiagnosis Has Left You Scarred
You do have legal rights when misdiagnosis has left you scarred. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis cannot only lead to scars, but can lead to loss of life. If you have been the victim of misdiagnosis you can take legal steps to claim compensation from the medical practitioner and or medical institute where you have been diagnosed.
When is it negligence?
You need to understand that a medical accident or acknowledged complications are different from medical malpractice or negligence. When you for instance, undergo surgery there are always some risks involved. If the injury is caused be complications which could not have been avoided, you cannot claim for negligence. If a doctor has followed all the right procedures in diagnosing you and still made the wrong diagnosis, all the factors involved have to be considered before one can say that the doctor was guilty of medical negligence.
Acknowledged complications may occur. You, however, shouldn’t have to pay or suffer because of their mistakes and this why it’s important to know your legal rights when misdiagnosis has left you scarred.
How serious is a misdiagnosis?
Consider the story of SMON, a deadly epidemic that plagued Japan. Indeed, it was believed that SMON was an infectious disease caused by a viral infection. The medical and scientific communities in Japan misdiagnosed patients and treated them for a viral infection for years. Many people died because of the incorrect diagnosis. At the end, it was discovered that a virus had nothing to do with the disease, but that it was caused by a certain prescription drug that went under the names of Clioquinol and Enterovioform. Lawsuits followed and thousands of the remaining victims had to be compensated for their injuries. The debacle started in the 1950s and the first lawsuits were reported in the seventies. People were left blind and crippled by the wrong diagnosis and subsequent treatments and thus had the right to take legal action.
What can you do?
You can take the issue up with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, but should know that they do not facilitate the pay-out of claims. For such, you will need to take legal action and will need experienced medical law attorneys to assist. You only have a three year time period to claim.
Get a copy of your medical records from the doctor who treated you. You may need lawyer assistance in obtaining the records and should speak to our attorneys regarding the right procedure to follow. Also write down everything you can remember including:
- Dates of visits – duration of examination.
- Witnesses – where applicable and their contact information.
- Medical aid bills and records regarding the treatments.
- Doctor or medical bills.
- Prescription records from the pharmacy (may need legal assistance).
- If you still have the prescription medication bottles keep them.
Make an appointment with our legal team to discuss the matter. We will help you determine the merits of the case. It’s important to get the correct medical treatment as soon as possible and to also get a second and even third medical opinion.
Costs and duration
Our attorneys will explain the procedures and, where possible, will help you avoid costly court proceedings. We will also discuss the costs involved, risks, and timeframe. Indeed, we will determine the merits of your claim and provide legal advice as to what to do next. It’s essential to take the necessary legal steps as soon as possible if you suspect that your injury is the result of a misdiagnosis as there’s a limited period in which you can take legal action.
Call us today to help you to get compensation for injuries sustained because of medical negligence or malpractice.