Alabama Diagnosis Mistake Lawyers
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Healthcare professionals that fail to correctly identify an individual’s medical condition or illness in a timely manner can cause undue damage to their patients by preventing or delaying necessary treatment. If you believe you have been injured due to a diagnostic error, the Alabama diagnosis mistake lawyers with Belt & Bruner, P.C. can explain your legal options and help you fight for compensation to cover your losses. Call us today at 205-933-1500.
Diagnostic errors, which include missed, delayed, and incorrect diagnoses, often result in serious harm to patients and occur in all types of healthcare settings. In fact, David E. Newman-Toker, a neurologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, recently said in the following Washington Post article that “diagnostic errors are the most common, most costly, and most deadly of all medical errors.”
Diagnostic Errors – By the Numbers
According to the National Academy of Medicine, formerly called the Institute of Medicine, the definition of a diagnostic error is the failure to “establish an accurate and timely explanation of the patient’s health problem(s) or communicate that explanation to the patient.” Not only are diagnostic errors alarming pervasive, they frequently have catastrophic outcomes for patients.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that most people will experience at least one diagnostic error in their lifetime and one in 20 patients will experience such an error every year. Based on their data, 56 percent of diagnostic errors occur in outpatient settings, 28 percent in inpatient settings, and 16 percent in emergency departments.
Dangers of Diagnostic Errors
In a review of medical malpractice claims from 1986 to 2010, Johns Hopkins researchers found that diagnostic errors accounted for the largest percentage of medical error claims, involved the most severe patient harm, and generated the highest claim payouts. The study also revealed that the majority of diagnostic error claims were based on missed diagnoses. Autopsy studies have found that anywhere from 40,000 to 80,000 people die annually because of misdiagnoses, according a The Washington Post article. Approximately half of these deaths could have been successfully treated had the condition been diagnosed while the person was still alive.
Getting an accurate and timely diagnosis depends on effective teamwork among various medical providers and the proper use of diagnostic tests, such as imaging. Generally, the diagnostic process involves multiple stages including:
- The initial meeting between patient and physician
- Collection of patient’s history
- Physical exam
- Assessment of test results
- Communication of the diagnosis with patient
Depending on the nature of the condition, it may be necessary for patients to be referred to a specialist for further testing, diagnosis, or treatment.
Common Types of Diagnostic Errors
Errors can occur throughout the diagnostic process, from the initial information gathering to the interpretation of test results. These errors are a major threat to patient safety and are largely preventable.
Here are some of the most common types of diagnostic errors:
- Incomplete history or physical exam
- Failure to order appropriate tests
- Delay in ordering necessary tests
- Incorrectly interpreting test results
- Delay in notifying patient of diagnosis or test results
- Mishandling of test samples
- Failure to provide proper or timely treatment in response to test results
- Failure to effectively communicate the nature of diagnosis or the urgency of the medical condition
- Failure to refer patient when necessary
- Failure to follow-up with patients
Our Diagnosis Mistake Lawyers Can Help
Not all diagnostic errors will amount to medical malpractice. A missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnosis may constitute medical malpractice if:
- A physician-patient relationship existed
- The physician did not provide medical care that was consistent with an established Standard of Care
- That breach of Standard of Care resulted in injury to the patient
If you have suffered serious harm due to a misdiagnosis by your provider or other medical error, you may be able to seek compensation for your losses by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. With help from the skilled diagnosis mistake lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C., you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of earning potential
- Medical costs
- Punitive damages
Our legal team has more than 65 years of collective personal injury experience, including a proven track record of success handling medical practice cases. We have obtained several recoveries in excess of $1 million on behalf of individuals injured by the negligence of healthcare professionals and we will aggressively advocate for the best result possible for your case.
If you or a loved one were injured in a devastating accident, call the medical malpractice lawyers from Belt & Bruner, P.C. at 205-933-1500 or use our online form. We offer a case evaluation free of charge and are ready to help you obtain full compensation for your losses. With offices in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, and Montgomery, our diagnosis mistake lawyers will quickly travel to investigate your case.