Georgia Medical Misdiagnosis Lawyers

Georgia Medical Misdiagnosis Lawyers

Receiving the wrong diagnosis can result in devastating, long-term consequences. If this has happened to you, you have the right to pursue a Georgia medical misdiagnosis claim and get the justice you deserve.

From misinterpreting lab results and failing to order appropriate testing, to misreading scans or overlooking potential diagnoses, if you have suffered due to a medical misdiagnosis, DRS Law will support you every step of your case and help secure your financial future.

What is medical misdiagnosis?

According to medical researchers at Johns Hopkins, more than 100,000 Americans die or are permanently disabled each year due to medical diagnoses that are initially missed, incorrect, or delayed. In fact, diagnostic errors are the most common, most catastrophic, and most costly of all medical mistakes.

A misdiagnosis generally falls into one of three categories:

  • Failed diagnosis where the condition is missed entirely.
  • Incorrect diagnosis where the wrong illness or injury is diagnosed.
  • Delayed diagnosis where there is a delay in diagnosing the condition.

How do I know if my misdiagnosis resulted from medical negligence?

Georgia medical malpractice cases involving a misdiagnosis are deceptively difficult to prove. You must show not only that the healthcare provider made a diagnostic error but also that a reasonably careful provider probably would have made a correct diagnosis under the same circumstances.

In other words, proving that a provider made a diagnostic error is only half the battle. The more difficult task is proving “what should have happened” or what a reasonable provider would have done under the circumstances. This is known as the standard of care.

A healthcare professional provides substandard care if they acted, or failed to act, in a way that no reasonable professional would have. So, even if a misdiagnosis occurs, you may not have a viable case if the healthcare providers acted reasonably at the time of diagnosis. Put another way, the law does not expect a provider to get diagnoses correct every time. But, providers are expected to take all reasonable steps to diagnose and treat their patients. If it was unreasonable to not order a test, or unreasonable to not consider a particular diagnose, then a provider can be held liable for medical negligence.

Proving negligence in a misdiagnosis case therefore depends a great deal on the ability of your Georgia medical malpractice attorney to work effectively with medical experts. These professionals are crucial to the success of your claim because Georgia requires that you have expert testimony supporting your case.

David Anthony Smith at DRS Law has a network of reputable medical experts that he routinely uses in misdiagnosis cases to opine on the steps a provider should have taken to appropriately diagnosis the medical condition at issue.

What causes a misdiagnosis?

Many circumstances can lead to a diagnostic error including:

  1. Failing to recognize symptoms.
  2. Mistaking symptoms for another condition.
  3. Overlooking potential diagnoses.
  4. Failing to arrange for diagnostic tests.
  5. Misreading test results, scans, or slides.
  6. Inaccurately reporting test results.

What kinds of medical conditions are frequently misdiagnosed?

There are three big categories of diagnostic errors that cause death or serious, permanent injuries, including:

Misdiagnosed cancers

Cancer misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences for patients and their families. In Georgia, if you or loved one has experienced a cancer misdiagnosis, it is crucial to understand the implications and your legal rights.

Cancer misdiagnosis generally fails into three categories:

  1. Misidentification: a patient’s cancer is mistaken for another illness, leading to delayed diagnosis.
  2. Overlooked diagnosis: a patient’s cancer is entirely overlooked by a healthcare professional, resulting in a delayed diagnosis.
  3. Incorrect diagnosis: a patient is wrongly diagnosed with cancer when they are instead suffering from a different condition.

When pursuing a cancer misdiagnosis claim in Georgia, it is essential to establish how the delay affected the patient’s condition. Key factors include: 1) how much additional pain and suffering has the patient endured due to the delay? 2) How have the patient’s treatment options changed? For example, a tumor that could have been surgically removed may now require chemotherapy due to progression. 3) How has the patient’s prognosis changed? For instance, a delay might reduce the patient’s five-year survival rate from 100% to 10%.

For a cancer misdiagnosis claim to be valid, the delay in diagnosis or the incorrect diagnosis must have altered the patient’s treatment options or prognosis. Additionally, the claim must not fall outside of Georgia’s five-year statute of repose. See O.C.G.A. § 9-3-71(b). This legal provision sets a definitive deadline for filing medical malpractice lawsuits, regardless of when the injury or misdiagnosis is discovered. For example, if a patient was misdiagnosed in 2018, but the cancer was not identified until 2024, the statute of repose would prevent the patient from filing a lawsuit because more than five years had passed since the original misdiagnosis. This harsh result underscores the importance of contacting a Georgia misdiagnosis lawyer as soon as you believe your cancer diagnosis was missed or delayed.

Misdiagnosed vascular events

Vascular events, when misdiagnosed, can form the basis of a Georgia medical negligence claim. Some common types of misdiagnosed vascular events include heart attacks, or myocardial infarctions, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), strokes, or aortic aneurysms.

Heart attacks are often misdiagnosed as less severe conditions such as indigestion or anxiety. This misdiagnosis can delay critical treatment and testing, leading to severe heart damage or death.

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the legs. Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of DVT can result in the clot traveling to the lungs, causing a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism.

An aortic aneurysm is a bulging or weakening in the wall of the aorta, the body’s main artery. If misdiagnosed, an aortic aneurysm can rupture, leading to life-threatening internal bleeding. Symptoms often mimic other conditions like heart attacks or strokes, making accurate diagnosis critical.

Misdiagnosed infections.

Two particularly serious infections that can result in Georgia medical malpractice claims when misdiagnosed are sepsis and meningitis. Both conditions require prompt diagnosis and treatment to prevent severe complications or death.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s response to infection causes widespread inflammation and organ failure. A missed or delayed diagnosis of sepsis can quickly lead to septic shock. While the window to diagnose and treat sepsis is often extremely short, medical providers may be liable for failing to diagnose sepsis depending on the circumstances.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis, in particular, can be rapidly fatal if not diagnosed or treated promptly. Meningitis misdiagnosis claims typical arise where a doctor missed red flags for bacterial meningitis and failed to refer the patient for futher testing or examinations.

How can a medical misdiagnosis impact your life?

When negligent acts by a healthcare provider cause a preventable misdiagnosis, the impact on a patient’s life can be devastating.

Patients may suffer from health challenges, including death, they would have avoided if the condition had been diagnosed correctly. For example, say you are suffering from abdominal pain and your doctor fails to diagnose it as appendicitis. If your appendix eventually bursts, you may suffer medical expenses, pain, and lost wages far greater than you would have if the doctor had made a timely diagnosis of appendicitis and immediately performed an appendectomy.

In cases of delayed diagnoses, safer, less invasive treatment options may no longer be available after the delay. Imagine that a child presents with knee pain and receives an x-ray, which shows the early-stage bone cancer. If spotted by healthcare professional, the cancer (osteosarcoma) could potentially be removed before it progresses. However, if the diagnosis is delayed, by the time the problem is identified it may be too late to prevent the need for amputation.

Lastly, a misdiagnosis may have changed a patient’s prognosis, resulting in a reduced life-expectancy or diminished quality of life due. Cancer misdiagnosis, for example, can lead to these unfortunate outcomes. A delayed cancer diagnose may change a patient’s treatment from a relatively easy, one-time removal surgery to a harsh combination of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery.

If you or a family member has been affected by a misdiagnosis, it is crucial that you contact an experienced Georgia medical malpractice lawyer to secure compensation for the injury and distress you have experienced.

How can a medical misdiagnosis case help me?

Compensation following a successful misdiagnosis case can cover a wide variety of costs, including: future treatments, lost earnings, necessary medical equipment, ongoing care, and adaptations required for homes and vehicles.

With over 50 years of combined experience and millions recovered in compensation, our team of Georgia medical malpractice lawyers stands ready to fight for you.

Where do I start with a misdiagnosis case?

Submitting your misdiagnosis case to our team of knowledgeable medical malpractice lawyers is easy. Click here to answer a few short questions about your case. Our Atlanta, Georgia attorneys review these submissions daily, and one of them we will contact you if we can help.

Once we take your case, you will have a dedicated attorney advising you from start to finish. You will always speak directly with the attorney handling your case. And he will give your case the time and attention it deserves.

Our attorneys will thoroughly review of your medical records, investigate all other important evidence, and assess whether the care you received was substandard. We will discuss your case with our network of medical experts to determine whether you have a viable misdiagnosis case, paying the up-front cost of this consultation. We will be with you at every stage of the process. And we never recovery any fee unless we win.

How do you calculate compensation for a medical misdiagnosis case?

When calculating compensation for a Georgia medical misdiagnosis case, it is essential to consider the current state of the patient’s health versus where they should have been with proper and timely treatment.

By its very nature, a misdiagnosis means that when a patient initially sought medical help, they already had an underlying condition. This condition may have been causing symptoms and had specific treatment options and likely had a prognosis at that time. So, the key questions to ask when evaluating a Georgia misdiagnosis claim are: 1) the degree to which symptoms have worsened; 2) the changes in available treatment options; and 3) the impact on the patient’s prognosis and life expectancy.

The third consideration – the impact on a patient’s prognosis and life expectancy – involves an important legal concept known as the “loss of chance” doctrine. Normally, to win a medical malpractice case, you must prove that a doctor’s negligence was a “substantial factor” in your injury or death. This is arguably difficult to establish in a cancer misdiagnosis cancer if the patient’s chances of survival were less than 50% percent before any alleged misdiagnosis. However, the “loss of chance” doctrine, which has been adopted by several Georgia courts, makes it easier for plaintiffs to prove causation in cancer misdiagnosis cases. See e.g., Richmond Cnty. Hosp. Auth. Operating Univ. Hosp. v. Dickerson, 356 S.E.2d 548, 550 (Ga. Ct. App. 1987). Suppose that doctor failed to diagnose cancer and this delay reduced a patient’s survival chance from 40% to 25%, under the “loss of chance” doctrine, the patient would have a valid cancer misdiagnosis claim (for the 15% loss of chance) even though his chances of survival were less than 50% when he first treated with the doctor.

How long to misdiagnosis cases take to settle?

Most Georgia misdiagnosis cases take between two and five years to reach a final settlement. Because of our deep knowledge of medical negligence, thorough investigations, and strong negotiation skills, most of our cases settle without proceeding to court. The length of a particular case varies depending on the complexity of the case, the defendant, and the number of medical experts required to prove your case.

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