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Medical Negligence Law Specialists

Get Help from Medical Negligence Law Specialists on the Topic of Misdiagnosis

If a medical practitioner misdiagnosis a condition or fails to diagnose the condition in time and the patient suffers injury, the patient may take legal steps in getting compensation for damages suffered. The expertise of medical negligence law specialists in this regard is important.

The patient should first consult with medical negligence law specialists who are able to assist in determining whether or not the medical practitioner has breached the relevant medical standard for care with consideration of the particular circumstances. The question is whether a similarly trained medical practitioner, under similar circumstances, would have diagnosed the condition earlier and correctly.

Misdiagnosis is not necessarily medical negligence; the patient must suffer physical harm because of the misdiagnosis in order for it to be considered as medical negligence. In addition, if the doctor follows the correct procedure to diagnose the condition and takes all factors into consideration, then the doctor has not breached the reasonable standard for medical care.

Examples of Misdiagnosis

A doctor can misdiagnose asthma as persistent or recurring bronchitis. A patient can be diagnosed with migraine while the patient is actually suffering from a stroke. Staph infection can be mistaken for flu, and a heart attack as a panic attack. A patient can be diagnosed with cancer when it is another condition and then suffers tremendous discomfort and pain because of the cancer treatment. In another scenario, diagnosis of the cancer is delayed and consequently the patient suffers a tremendous amount of pain, which, in worst case scenarios, could lead to the patient’s death.

Making use of medical negligence law specialists to help determine the merits of a case before commencing with legal steps or submitting a claim to the Health Professions Council of South Africa can help the patient to determine whether or not to proceed with legal steps for compensation.

The doctor may have failed to screen for a specific condition or may have interpreted the test results incorrectly. It is also possible for the doctor to have failed to ask the patient about the symptoms, or may have failed to refer the patient to a medical specialist.

For misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis to be medical negligence, there must be five elements present:

  • The doctor’s action or omission of action must lead to harm.
  • The doctor’s action must be wrong. If the patient suffers injury after the correct diagnosis and treatment, it is not medical negligence.
  • The doctor must fail in providing a reasonable standard of medical care.
  • The patient must suffer harm.
  • The harm must be caused by the misdiagnosis or the delayed diagnosis.

From the above information it becomes clear that it can be difficult to prove that misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis is medical negligence. As such, it is imperative to make use of the services offered by medical negligence law specialists in pursuing the matter to get compensation for damages suffered.

The patient can claim compensation for past and future medical expenses, as well as past and future loss of earnings. A person can also claim compensation for loss of support and maintenance where the claimant is a dependant of the deceased who was responsible for their financial support. The patient can also claim compensation for pain and suffering.

Get legal guidance from our medical negligence law specialists here at Adele van der Walt Incorporated if you believe that you have suffered injury and damages as the result of delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.


Information in this article is not intended as legal advice and is only for informational purposes. Please seek legal guidance from Adele van der Walt before relying on this information to make any legal decisions.

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