Providing a diagnosis is one of the most important roles of physicians. Without a diagnosis, patients and the rest of the medical team cannot take the necessary steps towards full recovery.
However, sometimes a misdiagnosis occurs. A medical misdiagnosis can be costly and harmful. According to Florida’s Department of Health, diagnostic errors have resulted in billions of dollars in losses. Since 2008, the healthcare expenditure for decreasing the likeliness of medical misdiagnosis has accounted for a third of the state’s medical spending. Reparative treatments and measures cost Medicare as much as $4.4 billion.
Medical misdiagnosis can also lead to the wrong kind of treatment, potentially harming the patient and loved ones by extension. An incorrect diagnosis from the physician also leads to improper health decisions on the part of the patient. This can worsen clinical outcomes.
For the potential damage it can cause, misdiagnosis is considered a form of medical malpractice. For this reason, you may have the right to a medical malpractice claim if you have been diagnosed incorrectly. However, there are a few caveats.
Read on to learn more about when you can and cannot sue for misdiagnosis in Florida.
Medical Malpractice and Negligence
Physicians can offer the best care and service possible but fall victim to human error, as with other professionals. The state of Florida recognizes this, honoring the codified General Standard for Medical Care. The standard constitutes the bare minimum of what a physician can perform. Any deviation from what is contained in the standard constitutes an act of malpractice.
One of the possible deviations is negligence while on duty. Hence, a victim or plaintiff would need to prove the presence of negligence when the physician gave the diagnosis.
Physical or Bodily Harm Resulting from the Misdiagnosis
Another condition is harm. Harm is defined differently depending on the state. In Florida, harm refers to bodily harm. If a misdiagnosis leads to the spread or progression of a disease, the misdiagnosis — legally speaking — is harmful.
A misdiagnosis can also be harmful if the treatment given causes the patient’s condition to deteriorate. This often occurs in situations when the patient manifests symptoms similar to that of another illness.
When You Can Sue for a Misdiagnosis
A physician can be held liable for giving an incorrect diagnosis. However, a claim must be the result of proving two conditions in the misdiagnosis — negligence, and harm.
First, you and your attorney need to prove that negligence played a part in the rendering of your misdiagnosis. This will involve evidence gathering and consistent reference to the General Standard of Care.
In addition, if you can establish the presence of negligence, you also need to show that the misdiagnosis harmed you. Once again, harm in this context is physical harm. By state law, harm does not include damages to property like money lost while pursuing the incorrect form of treatment.
Seek Legal Assistance from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer if You Are Misdiagnosed
You can sue for misdiagnosis in Florida provided that you can prove the physician’s negligence and the consequent harm the diagnosis caused you. These two conditions, while few, will be too much for you to prove on your own.
To guarantee the best possible outcome in your claim, you will need an attorney specializing in medical malpractice. Call us now if you or someone you know has received a misdiagnosis and was harmed by it in Florida.