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Wrongfully Diagnosed

Steps to Be Taken When Wrongfully Diagnosed

Being wrongfully diagnosed can have dire consequences. Not only can this lead to injury for the patient but it can also lead to a loss of income and additional unplanned medical expenses.  

With more than R1.7 billion in medical claims paid out to claimants during the 2020/21 financial year in South Africa, it shows a significant increase in claims compared to a few years ago.

We look at the steps patients can take when they are wrongfully diagnosed by a medical practitioner in South Africa.

Wrong Diagnosis

What Should Patients Do?

When a medical practitioner misdiagnoses a patient and it leads to injury, the patient has the right to take legal steps to receive compensation for damages suffered. Here are the steps patients can take:

  • Keep accurate records of costs. Patients should keep a very accurate record of all the treatment and aftercare costs, as well as loss of income as a result of the injury.
  • Obtain medical records. Patients should obtain their records from the medical practitioner or the institution as soon as possible.
  • Keep a record of communication. Patients need to meticulously record all communication with their medical practitioner and the institution.

In some cases, the institution or medical practitioner may be hesitant to provide the patient with their medical records, even though they have the right to access them.

This is where the assistance of an experienced medical malpractice attorney can be very valuable, especially when it comes to following the correct procedures and determining the possible compensation that could arise from a misdiagnosis by the medical practitioner.

What Constitutes Medical Negligence?

In short, if the medical practitioner is qualified to make the diagnosis and has followed the correct procedures, it can be argued that they followed a reasonable standard of care when making the diagnosis.

However, if the medical practitioner made the wrong diagnosis due to not following the correct procedure, it may be seen as negligence.

When considering medical negligence, there are a few aspects to note, such as:

  • Did the medical practitioner have a duty of care?
  • Has the wrong diagnosis led to damages and injury?
  • Did a doctor-patient relationship exist at the time?

These are all important questions to ask when patients were wrongfully diagnosed, and it is vital to work with an experienced medical malpractice attorney for legal guidance.

Qualified Attorneys to Provide Sound Medical Malpractice Advice

If you have been wrongfully diagnosed by a medical practitioner in South Africa, get in touch with Adele van der Walt Incorporated today at 012 346 0680.

Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing – February 2023.

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