Medical practitioners are required to exercise a reasonable standard of care in assessing and diagnosing conditions with which their patients present. Medicine is not an exact science and medical conditions can present in an “atypical” manner so that a failure to correctly diagnose some medical conditions may not be the due to negligence on the part of the treating doctor. However, medical practitioners are expected to take a full and adequate history of a patient’s presenting symptoms, to order appropriate diagnostic tests, to refer for more specialised assessments when indicated and to arrange appropriate reviews to reassess a patient’s response to prescribed treatments. If a medical practitioner fails to correctly diagnose your medical condition due to failings in his/her duty of care or if there is an excessive delay in making a correct diagnosis which compromises your treatment, you may have grounds to bring a medical negligence claim* in respect of the consequences of that inadequate or delayed diagnosis.
- Examples of conduct which may provide grounds for a medical misdiagnosis claim include:
- Failing to adequately examine and assess a patient in light of his/her presenting symptoms;
- Failing to order appropriate screening or diagnostic tests;
- Misinterpreting or failing to act appropriately upon the results of screening or diagnostic tests;
- Failing to refer you to appropriate specialists;
- Failing to carry out the required investigations with a sufficient degree of urgency resulting in unacceptable delays in diagnosis;
- Making an incorrect diagnosis so that the patient does not receive the appropriate treatment for his/her condition.
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If your medical condition has been misdiagnosed or there has been a significant delay in a correct diagnosis being made which may have adversely affected your treatment, it is important to seek expert advice in relation to whether you have grounds to bring a legal claim for compensation in relation to the consequences the wrong or delayed diagnosis of your medical condition. A medical misdiagnosis can result in a worsening of your medical condition and adversely affect your prospects of a successful treatment. In terminal conditions, a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis may result in a significantly reduced life expectancy and the “loss of a chance” for a cure.
Should you have grounds to bring a medical negligence claim, you would be entitled to seek compensation for out-of-pocket expenses such as medical bills which are a consequence of the misdiagnosis, the costs of care and other therapies which you require and for the loss of income/earnings which you have experienced as a consequence of the deficient medical care. You will also be entitled to obtain compensation for the pain, suffering and loss of amenities which have been associated with the inadequate or delayed diagnosis of your condition.
Ivor Fitzpatrick & Company have investigated and successfully brought many medical misdiagnosis claims. Our experience in this regard has included successfully bringing High Court proceedings with respect to:
- The failure to diagnose pituitary tumours;
- The delayed diagnosis of viral encephalitis;
- The failure to diagnose bacterial meningitis;
- The failure to diagnose endometrial cancer;
- The excessively delayed diagnosis of a perforated bowel following abdominal surgery;
- Failures to diagnose symptoms of an impending stroke (transient ischemic attack).
As a consequence of our expertise and experience, we are in a position to provide you with detailed advice regarding the prospects of successfully bringing a legal claim following a full assessment of the circumstances of your particular injuries/complications arising from the misdiagnosis or late diagnosis of your condition and to fully investigate and establish the necessary elements to establish this type of medical negligence action.