Misdiagnosis or delayed correct diagnosis from a medical practitioner may constitute negligence.
However, misdiagnosis itself not evidence of medical negligence. In order for a misdiagnosis to be negligent it must result from your doctor failing to take “reasonable care” in diagnosing a condition. This requires a professional analysis of what the doctor did and did not do to arrive at their diagnosis.
You can claim compensation for a misdiagnosis if the medical practitioner was negligent. To establish negligence you will need to prove all of the following points:
A misdiagnosis will only be considered negligent if it falls short of Australian medical standards. You must be able to show that another reasonably competent doctor would have been able to correctly diagnose your illness in the circumstances.
You must have suffered actual injury or harm as a result of the misdiagnosis. For example, as a result of a misdiagnosis, you may be subjected to surgery or aggressive or harmful treatment (such as chemotherapy) which would not have been necessary if the correct diagnosis had been made earlier.
You must be able to prove that the negligent misdiagnosis caused your injury. For example, if your doctor were to misdiagnose your broken leg as a strained ligament and failed to administer appropriate treatment, but the next day your leg was crushed completely in a car accident, the misdiagnosis would not be the cause of your harm.
Proving a medical negligence claim is a complex process. If you believe a treating medical professional was negligent and caused you harm, we recommend that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Among the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions are:
Negligence is not always the cause of a misdiagnosis. Mistakes and misjudgments typically occur in medical diagnosis because many medical conditions do not consistently exhibit the same symptoms in every individual. For example, women are much more likely to be misdiagnosed with a heart attack as they do not experience hallmark symptoms that precede a heart attack such as chest pains. Instead, women may experience discomfort in their neck, jaw, back, shoulder, arm or stomach, nausea, vomiting or heart burn.
Other medical conditions only exhibit vague symptoms which overlap with other common conditions and are therefore commonly misdiagnosed. Limited access to patient information, medical history or inadequate consultation time with the patient are also factors that may result in a medical practitioner failing to arrive at the correct diagnosis.
For these reasons, doctors are not required to attain an impossible standard of practice and errors may occur despite reasonable care being taken. Determining whether negligence is involved is a complex process and legal advice is recommended.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
Step by step guide and help to lodge a complaint with the Queensland Health Ombudsmen regarding doctors, dentists, healthcare professionals and hospitals.
Medical negligence is a very complex area of law. Find out what may constitute medical negligence vs. issues that do not. Free information for Queensland.