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When Does Misdiagnosis of a Condition Constitute Malpractice?

The first step to take if you believe you have been the victim of misdiagnosis or overlooked or delayed diagnosis, and have suffered injury and damages as the result thereof, is to make an appointment with medical negligence lawyers. They will help you determine the extent of the damages, whether a doctor-patient relationship existed, and whether the injury and damages suffered were the direct result of the practitioner’s negligence.

What is a Misdiagnosis?

It is an inaccurate identification of a medical condition. If the misdiagnosis is made because of the doctor’s negligence as the result of incorrect procedures followed, failure to take all factors into consideration, or lack of care, you can take legal steps to get compensation for the damages suffered. You will need to make use of medical negligence attorneys in this regard, as litigation may be needed and because such lawsuits can become complicated.

Misdiagnosis thus occurs when the practitioner incorrectly interprets the symptoms and diagnoses the condition wrongly. The doctor might then prescribe incorrect medical treatment and medication that can lead to serious injury while the true condition goes untreated. It can take months before the misdiagnosis is identified. During this period, the patient suffers unnecessarily; undergoes additional treatments while the condition persists; suffers from poor health, loss of income, additional travelling, and medical costs; and can even suffer permanent injury because of the misdiagnosis.

What is a Delayed Diagnosis?

When the medical practitioner does not identify the condition in time, the patient suffers and their condition can worsen. The delayed diagnosis can lead to a situation where the illness develops to the point where it is too late to reverse the effects or to treat the patient.

Is Every Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis Malpractice?

No. Doctors are not expected to be correct all the time. If the doctor has taken the necessary steps, has considered the patient’s history, has ordered relevant tests, and has the qualification to deal with the condition and, because of symptoms that can be mistaken for another condition, incorrectly diagnosing the patient, it is not malpractice if this has not caused serious injury and damages. The injury and damages sustained must be substantial enough to warrant legal steps. It is malpractice if the misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is the result of substandard procedures and care, and has resulted damages such as loss of income, additional medical expenses, and injury to the patient.

The medical negligence lawyers will review the practitioner’s actions and damages as a direct result of the doctor’s actions or failure to act. Various documents will be reviewed during the process and expert opinion called in. Litigation is a lengthy process and very costly. All aspects need to be considered.

What Next?

Don’t speculate about the situation. Make an appointment with medical negligence lawyer Adele van der Walt to help you determine whether malpractice has taken place and to commence with the necessary legal steps to seek compensation for damages and injury suffered within the allowable timeframe.


Note that the information in this article is for information purposes only and should not be seen as an attempt to provide legal advice. We strongly recommend that you contact us at Adele van der Walt Incorporated for professional legal advice.

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